This summer, just when I had thought I had canned, dehydrated, frozen, and made jam out of a season’s worth of cherries, I found a huge basket of cherries at the Public Market. Cheap.
Real cheap. Like the kind of cheap where I expected half the basket to be rotten.
And since I really love cherries, and don’t think you can ever have enough frozen cherries… I bought the basket.
The only problem (if you want to call it a problem) was that almost none of the cherries were rotten. They were just right. They were perfect. They were going to spoil if I didn’t do something with them right then.
I set the kids to work pitting cherries, and began lining my dehydrator trays. I froze more cherries. Except this was like the never-ending basket of cherries!
I didn’t have the ambition to can any more cherries or make jam. And no one could stomach another bowl of fresh cherries by this point.
But I was not, and I mean not going to waste these beautiful cherries! So… enter the age-old, time-honored, lazy girl’s way of preserving fruit.
Yup. Pour alcohol over it. 🙂
How to Preserve Cherries with Whiskey
What you need:
Rinsed cherries, there is no need to pit them
Clean canning jars, with rings and lids; since there is no canning (i.e. no worries about a seal failing) involved here, it’s fine to reuse squeaky clean lids for this
Irish Whiskey, at least 80 proof
Organic sugar, technically optional (but please don’t leave it out; trust me)
What you do:
Loosely pack the cherries into jars — I used pint jars
Pour whiskey over the cherries to cover — each jar took about 1 cup of whiskey
Add 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of sugar to each jar — normally I go light with sugar, but don’t go too light. I thought my 2 teaspoon jar was no where near sweet enough, and wound up adding another tablespoon of sugar to it when I opened it. This sort of works, but it’s best to just add enough sugar right off the bat!
Screw down the lids, and give the jars a gentle shake. Make sure the whiskey is covering all the cherries. Add more, if necessary.
Leave the jars on the counter for a couple of days, and give them a gentle shake at least once a day.
Then move them to the cupboard and wait for a few months. They will be ready to give as gifts at Christmastime.
Enjoy the cherries right out of the jar, or add a couple (maybe with a drizzle of the sweetened, cherry-flavored whiskey) to ice cream — for adults only, of course! And the whiskey, itself, makes an excellent drink.
I tried this with both light and dark sweet cherries, and while they both tasted delightful, the dark cherries definitely created a more attractive finished product!
Have you ever preserved fruit in alcohol?
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