Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle

Brandied Cherries

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Chelan cherries stemmed and ready for pitting. They are delicious!

Chelan cherries stemmed and ready for pitting. They are delicious!

It’s cherry season at last! I have been excited about cherries since I was thinking about starting the Preservation Society and this blog. Cherries in Seattle are everything. We do all kinds of berries really well up here, and apples of course (mention of Washington Apples is required of all residents in the state.) But cherries! They are amazing, they are so sweet and tart and juicy and oh my goodness.

West Seattle farmer's market - I go to this one on Sundays and the Columbia City one on Wednesdays.

West Seattle farmer’s market – I go to this one on Sundays and the Columbia City one on Wednesdays.

Part of my excitement is that in my household, cherries are the one fruit that is 100% loved by D and me. He doesn’t love many fruits, but he loves cherries. And I do too. I tend to make a lot of cherry baked goods, and buying a cherry pitter was a turning point in my life. In fact, this year I just bought a mega 4-cherry pitter and I’m in heaven.

This farmer gave me a discount because I was buying 7 pounds.

This farmer gave me a discount because I was buying 7 pounds.

Anyway, I made cherry jam the other day (or at least, tried to) but I’ll discuss that later. It’s warm and it’s the weekend and it feels like a cocktail kind of day. Time for brandied cherries!

All recipes for brandied cherries will include sugar, brandy, and cherries.

All recipes for brandied cherries will include sugar, brandy, and cherries.

I started with another recipe, but they won’t be ready for 6 weeks. They are in the fridge, labeled with the date they’ll be ready (7/25). Patience was never my strong suit, so I found another recipe that is ready the same day. Ooh, they are tasty. And the best part? Because I’m not at a bar, where they have inventory and standards, I’m allowed 2 cherries in my drink.

Cooking on the stove

Cooking on the stove – the first recipe I used did not involve cooking. This step speeds up the cherry maceration to allow the brandy to soak in.

This was a fun project, and if you’re having houseguests or a BBQ sometime soon (ahem, 4th of July?) I highly recommend these in whiskey, sparkling wine, or soda drink. Or, how about trying them as a topping on ice cream? We had them in bourbon, and the second round we added a little of the steeping liquid to the drink as well. Bam.

The cherries get a little darker and softer in appearance when they are ready.

The cherries get a little darker and softer in appearance when they are ready.

Recipe (based on one from Imbibe Magazine, original here)

*I halved this recipe, which made 1 pint jar.

1 lb cherries (I used Chelan cherries, but use whatever sweet red cherry you have)
½ c sugar
½ c water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brandy

Ready to be refrigerated. This color is so rich!

Ready to be refrigerated. This color is so rich!

Wash, stem, and pit the cherries.Bring all ingredients except the cherries and brandy to a boil. Reduce heat, and add cherries. Simmer 5 minutes, or until softened. Remove from heat, add brandy, and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate in jars for up to 2 weeks. (I question this time limit, because the other recipe I made says 1 year. Why? I’ll be testing this.)

And the payoff: extra tasty cherries in my drink.

And the payoff: extra tasty cherries in my drink.

Check back in late July to see how the other recipe compares.

One thought on “Brandied Cherries

  1. Pingback: Battle of the Brandied Cherries | Soil and Cellar

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