Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sweet Summer Cherry Preserves

These cherry preserves have been a long time coming.  That being said I did not buy these cherries with the intent of making cherry preserves.  Okay, hold on, I need to take a step back here.  This past February, yes about 5 months ago now, I was at a meeting at The Montage in Laguna Beach.  If you have been reading these posts for a while now, you might know that The Montage is my happy place, and if I could move there I would in a heart beat.  Any who, when I was out there this past February they had these huge homemade English muffins at breakfast, and I fell in love with them.  I would toast one up and then cover it with my other new found love, cherry preserves, and it was my little piece of heaven over the course of a long meeting week.  I didn't grow up eating cherry preserves, we had our fair share of strawberry and of course grape jelly, but cherry was foreign.  So, when I got tired of eating cherries at my desk and getting my fingers stained red about a week ago, I decided it was time to use the remaining cherries to finally make preserves.

Well they turned out exactly like I wanted them too!  Chunky, with a little bit of tart to go along with the sweet.  They scream for a toasted English muffin, but I won't judge you if you only have toast in the house.  I honestly might have to make some pancakes and serve the preserves alongside sans the syrup.  That or grab a nice soft cheese and some toasted baguette.  Either, way I would definitely recommend making these sometime, or this weekend, before sweet summer cherries disappear for the season.  Enjoy!

While Charles was away this past weekend with the guys, I had some ladies over for Reef Cups by the pool.  I have to give a serious shout out to Krista for the idea behind these watermelon ice cubes.  Pure genius, and I can't wait to make some more with the rest of the huge watermelon I still have.

Down to the preserves...they are super simple to make!

The times when I wish I had a cherry pitter...instead I just needed to be careful not to slice my finger.  Let's be real the odds of it happening were fairly high, which is probably why I don't own a mandolin.

This is when it started to smell so good!

Seriously want this right now, like right this second, why am I not eating this buttery cherry English muffin goodness?

So much chunky sweet and tart cherry goodness.

Sweet Summer Cherry Preserves: (Recipe adapted from the Cilantropist)
4 cups washed & pitted cherries
Juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

1.  Prepare the cherries, then chop about 1/2 or 1/3 of them into rough pieces, and leave the others halved if you don't have a cherry pitter like me or whole.  

2.  Add all the cherries to a medium pot along with the lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat, until they start bubbling, then continue to cook while stirring occasionally for about 20-25 minutes.  Make sure you stir especially towards the end of that time so the juice on the bottom does not burn.  As they are cooking, use a fork to smash the whole cherries to release the juice and flatten them.  (If you don't flatten them, they will stay really round and the preserves will not be very 'spreadable.')  

3.  After the cherries are fully cooked, add the sugar, stir to mix it in and dissolve it, then continue to cook over medium-high heat for another 5-7 minutes.  (Again, be sure to stir, so the sugar and cherries don't burn.)  After cooking, the juice should have started to 'gel' a bit and thicken so that it starts to coat the back of your spoon or ladle.  

4.  Remove the preserves from heat, and test if they are done.  If the preserves are not done, return them to the heat and cook them for a few more minutes, then test them again.  When done, let the preserves cool slightly*, then transfer it to jars.  Once they are cooled, they will keep refrigerated for several months.

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