Its that time of year. Fresh fruit galore is in season and I have once again bought more than we can eat...but who can resist all of the goodies rolling in? I bought cherries the other day and haven't touched them as there were other things too good to pass up for snacking. Fortunately they didn't "go bad" so I decided to turn them into preserves this morning.
Thank gawd I paid attention to my Mom and grandmothers making preserves over the years. I tend to go with the high sugar and no pectin way whenever I can. Not that pectin is bad for you, its just that its just not a pantry item I stock and don't feel like running out to the store for just that one item...so its pectic free for me when I impulsively decide to make some preserves. Yes, you do cook a bit longer to get a gel but its still just as flavorful with the right consistency in the end.
Of course it means I got to use a new toy today. I picked up, on sale no less, a cherry pitter at Sur La Table the other day and this was the perfect excuse to break it out. Love cooking with cherries, just hated the old knife pitting method. This little "gun" makes it so easy just load, squeeze the trigger and out comes the pit! Worth the few bucks it cost.
- 2 lbs pitted fresh cherries
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 c water
- juice of 1 lemon
In large, heavy (Thick bottom and side) pot add sugar and water. Bring to boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add cherries. With potato masher carefully mash down the fruit to release juice and break up fruit. Be careful not to over mash the fruit as you still want big chunks. Bring back to boil then reduce heat to low boil. Simmer at low boil 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice. Put into hot sterile canning jar(s). Makes about 2 cups preserves.
What a low boil looks like...more than a simmer but not much.