Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle

Battle of the Brandied Cherries

3 Comments

I've waited 6 weeks for this!

I’ve waited 6 weeks for this!

You may remember about 6 weeks ago I posted about brandied cherries. That recipe was great! I’m still enjoying them (even though the recipe says to use within 2 weeks, I’m living on the edge.) I made a different recipe at the same time. This one had to sit in the fridge for 6 weeks. I put a piece of tape with a label and a date and hid it behind the pickles.

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

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

Well, this week was Ladies’ Preservation Society (more on that soon) and we did a taste test between the two recipes. A few days later, D and I tested the cherries in 2 different drinks – sparkling wine and bourbon. The decision was clear, though not unanimous. I’ve decided to call the first recipe “Quick” and the second “Patience.”

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

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

In making Quick, I used half of this recipe from Imbibe. My full post on these cherries can be found here. This recipe uses sugar, brandy, vanilla, spices, lemon, and cherries (obviously.)

I got the recipe for Patience at Saveur (which I halved here). To make these, all you do is combine 1 cup sugar and 2 cups brandy, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour this over 1 lb. pitted cherries, seal in a jar, and let sit in the fridge for 6 weeks. Easy peasy. Because you aren’t heating the liquid or the fruit, the brandy takes longer to work its way into the cells of the cherries. This also means the cherries end up with a nice firm texture.

"Patience" cherries are finally ready to be opened!

“Patience” cherries are finally ready to be opened!

The Verdict

Quick cherries are softer, sweeter, and have a distinct but not overpowering brandy flavor. I have been using them for weeks, and I haven’t noticed any change in taste.

Patience cherries are firm and the alcohol flavor is a really strong. The recipe suggests serving the brandy strait up with the cherries in them. The brandy tastes good and has a lot of cherry flavor, but I would want to mix it with something to tone down the alcohol.

"Patience" above and "Quick" below - the taste test. I almost didn't have enough Quick left to test.

“Patience” above and “Quick” below – the taste test. I almost didn’t have enough Quick left to test.

The winner… it’s the Quick cherries, by golly. I would have guessed otherwise, because of delayed gratification and all that. I like the firm texture of the Patience cherries, but the alcohol flavor was too much. In anything but straight bourbon or whiskey, it dominated. I will still use these in bourbon, and am debating cooking them down and making a sauce to go with a flourless chocolate cake for an upcoming potluck. (This potluck will have lots of kids, so maybe not?)

I love seeing the bubbles stream off the cherries when they are in sparkling wines.

I love seeing the bubbles stream off the cherries when they are in sparkling wines.

Uses

I’ve been adding the cherries to drinks: Quick was delicious in a sparkling rosé and both go great with bourbon. You could also make a mixed drink and include some of the liquid. They would also go great with anything chocolate, naturally. Or, add them to ice cream or frozen yogurt for an adult dessert.

I couldn't drink much more at this point, and we were down to our last Quick cherry. Sad to see it end, but I've kept the liquid for use in other cocktails.

I couldn’t drink much at this point, and we were down to our last Quick cherry. Sad to see it end, but I’ve kept the liquid for use in other cocktails.

3 thoughts on “Battle of the Brandied Cherries

  1. I love the pickled cherry recipe from Food in Jars – they go quite nicely with bourbon or rye. I might try these, but I really like having jars that last longer that don’t need fridge space.

    • I agree about the fridge space! I am still learning about canning, and finding recipes seems easier when you are just doing a few jars (less commitment.) But I may need to focus on putting things up soon if I ever hope to have fridge space again. So far the only things I’ve successfully canned are peaches and jams.

  2. I love small batches and recommend them in my classes. Check out the website & the book for Food in Jars – she’s all about small batches too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s