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Cherries - grab them now and preserve them

I have a particular thing for dark chocolate and some sort of booze as a combination. When this also involves fruit, done well, it cannot be beaten. Up there at the top has to be dark chocolate, kirsch and black cherries. Well, cherries have a brief season in the UK, and it’s coming to an end soon, so what better time to grab a load, preserve them in kirsch, and just leave them, developing their flavours and opening up all sorts of possibilities for the months ahead. I have a dark chocolate crumble mixture planned (I’ll post the recipe once perfected) that should be an exceptional thing with black cherries in kirsch, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I’ll put them in dark chocolate brownies, and maybe just dollop them over ice cream or pancakes. After spending an hour on Saturday filling a Kilner Jar with the little beauties, I have to say, the winter ahead promises to be one dotted with wonder. It’s very easy to do, so why not invest a little time and effort now for the prospect of shameless indulgence in the future.

Black Cherries in Kilner Jar

This will make a batch with a serious boozy kick – if I use booze, I like it that way. For less of a kick, use 200ml. This recipe will make a thin sauce. I do like the texture of a thicker stock, I just can’t bring myself to dump a huge bag of sugar into what I’m going to eat. Once the ice cream starts melting, it’ll mix in and create something wonderful to finish off, but if you want a thicker syrup, go for 400g of sugar.

A special mention should be made of the OXO Good Grips Cherry/Olive Pitter, which made very quick work of pitting the cherries. It also does olives of course – unpitted olives taste so much nicer than the pitted ones that have had brine inside washing out the flavour, so do consider investing in one.

Oxo Cherry Pitter

Cherries in Kirsch

Fills a 1.5L Kilner Jar – enough for a fair amount of dessert experimentation.

• Cherries: 1.3kg cherries
• Kirsch: 300ml
• Sugar: 200g
• Star anise: 1-2
• Cinnamon stick: 1, broken in half
• Cloves: 2
• Juice of half a lemon

  • Sterilise your jar. I simply but mine in a roasting tin with a cm of water and place in a medium preheated oven for 10 mins (include the rubber ring from the Kilner lid, and fit it back onto the jar after)
  • Wash, pit the cherries and put them in a large pot
  • Sprinkle over the sugar, add the spices and gently stir
  • Heat gently and when your sugar melts and the stock starts boiling set the timer for 5 minutes
  • Stir gently a few times
  • Leave to cool when time’s up
  • Pour into your sterilised jar, making sure the liquid is completely covering your cherries
  • Store somewhere cool (20-24 degrees is perfect). They’ll keep for at least 6 months, but you’ll probably start raiding your supply before then.

There are some things in life you don't want sitting in the back of your mind (bills, etc). And some you do. I hope the thought of delicious things to come once your jar is filled and tucked away fills you with as much joy as it has me.

Bon appetit

Jason | Managing Director @ Season

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