Cherries are abundant now. As with many seasonal fruits, I get them while I can, process, and enjoy in various forms throughout the year. These brandied cherries, a recent kitchen adventure are something special.
Don’t think florescent red maraschino with artificial food coloring. These are home made gems. One could argue they’re better than say the Luxardo brand ($16 for a 12.5 ounce can). Or better yet Amarina Wild Cherries in Syrup. They’ll set you back $18.99 for a 600 gram (about 2 ½ cups) crock. Ok they’re both Italian, a definite draw for some and the Amarina crock is pretty cool. I made these from local cherries- Sacramento County- and they cost a fraction of the above prices.
Ways to have a cherry moment:
- Spooned over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Splashed into a Sidecar
- Added to sangria or iced tea
- Warmed then poured on a slice of chocolate ganache cake
- Chopped and added to herbal vinaigrette for a green salad
- Baked with pork tenderloin (tofu tenderloin for a vegetarian option)
They aren’t that sweet, which I like. But if you want to push the envelope, increase the sugar a cup and use a sweet muscat wine instead of red wine.
Yield: 4 to 5 half-pints
2 cups brandy
1 cup red wine
1 cup sugar
3 pounds sweet cherries, pitted
At this point you can preserve them via the water-bath canning method, or cool and refrigerate and/or freeze. They’ll keep in the refrigerator a few months. If you’re new to water-bath canning, go here for an overview.
I used bing but you could also use other sweet varieties such as Royal Ann, Tartarian or Lambert. You’ll probably have to know someone growing the lessor know types of cherries.
My recipe source is Canning for a New Generation, a fantastic book I gave myself last Christmas!