In my quest to make blintzes, I needed to make cherry preserves. I could have bought the preserves, but my goal was to make blintzes that were less expensive than in the store.I bought cherries when they were $1.47/pound. I ended up with 3.85 lbs. I was attempting to follow a recipe I found by David Lebovitz on his blog. The whole thing seemed simple enough.
First, I washed the cherries. Next, I had to remove the stems and the pits. I looked up different ways to remove the pits, it seemed like it was going to be a lot of work. However, it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t care if the cherries were whole or in pieces, so I just sliced the cherry, and dug the pit out with my finger.
I took a break and returned to pitting the cherries after a bit. Overall, I believe it took about 35-40 minutes to pit the cherries (which I thought wasn’t too bad). If you have a cherry pitter it should go faster (and Chris ordered me one that should be here in time for me to do a second batch).
I cooked the cherries for about 20 minutes. Then I put the cherries in a large measuring bowl. I had 6 cups of cherries (with juice). The directions said that I should add 3/4 of that amount of sugar. So I added 4 1/2 cups of sugar. It seems like a lot of sugar, but since I wasn’t using pectin… I don’t understand the science of it, but the sugar is needed to keep the preserves from spoiling (and I think aid in the thickening process).
The next step was to cook the cherries and sugar at a med-high heat. They bubbled and created a foam on top. After a bit (I did about 10 minutes at first) you are to turn off the stove, wait for the bubbling to stop and put a bit of the mixture on a plate that has been in the freezer. Then you return the plate to the freezer and wait a few minutes. After a few minutes, you take the plate out of the freezer and see if the preserves wrinkle when you push them with your finger. If they do, you are done cooking. If not, you heat the mixture back up (put a new plate in the freezer) and cook if for a few more minutes. You continue doing this until the mixture that has been in the freezer wrinkles. It took me 3 tries to get a wrinkly result.
The final step is to ladle the preserves into containers, cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator. I ended up with a total of 7 cups of preserves. The pink foam went down after the mixture cooled.
The preserves were delicious and I’ve already had it on toast and mixed with my homemade yogurt. I plan on buying more cherries and making more AFTER I get the cherry pitter.
I saved the cherry pits to make cherry pit vinegar. I’ll let you know how that turns out…