Cherry season! Pull out the dehydrator and vodka and settle down for a few hours in the pits. I bought 50 pounds at a fruit stand, as pure as I could find. These were only sprayed with a pheromone that confuses male fruit flies to keep them from spoiling the crop. The insect lure helps growers monitor and manage for the most helpful insects. I still consider these organic and pure.
I seldom put recipes on my blog but these are so tasty and so good for you, I just want to share the juice. I love dried cherries so I’ve been waiting to get some into my dehydrators. I filled the large one and with our rains this week it took about 24 hours to dry them, longer than I expected. Today I filled the big and the small dehydrators. A big bowl of fruit is left for eating fresh. The rest went into jars with sugar and vodka for the liqueur I use in winter to make “cherry bombs”. Here’s how I did it.
Cover up, it can get messy and stain your clothes. I wore Grandma’s apron. I think she must have made this one just for messing with cherries! I pulled out my super razor sharp paring knife. In little time I could pit cherries like I meant business. A sharp sharp knife is a must, far safer than a dull knife because it slices and you don’t have to push through the fruit.
The short story is that I sliced a bowl of cherries, cutting all the way around from stem to stem. When I had a good sized bowl, I opened them, dropped out the pits and set them skin side down on the dehydrator trays. A glass of wine (or more) helped keep me from getting bored, as well as listening to an audio book while I sliced.
You can see the stem at top of the left half, above. Grip each half and twist them in opposite directions to pop them open. The right side is turned so it’s stem part is facing away now. I twisted about a quarter turn. It was fairly fun!
The pit sticks to one side. Scoop it out with your thumb or a finger. I found it faster and easier to slice a bunch, then remove all their pits for a while because my hands got slick removing pits which made it harder to handle the knife after each one. Try it this way and see how it works for you. I started my slice on one side of the stem, pulled the blade across the stem and around the cherry back to where I started. In the initial slice my blade rested on the pit and all I had to do was hold the knife in place and turn the cherry. Much safer than turning the knife around the globe, I was able to keep my fingers away from the blade edge. To be clear, hold the knife in place and turn the cherry with your thumb and fingers of the other hand, keeping your ring and pinky fingers out of the way.
I got into the zen of slicing a bowl of cherries, then removing pits and placing them on the tray. The longer I did this, the better I could focus on the audio book. It settled my mind, the repetition. Pit meditation. In the groove.
See the sliced berries? Do up a bowl of them and then remove all their pits. I felt powerful with this method. Maybe fortified with wine?
Ah, dehydrators are loaded and plugged in, now for simple fun. I first learned this recipe from a woman who brought cherry bombs to a Winter apres ski party. She served them in stemmed glasses with a float of whipped cream on top. I swear it tasted just like cherry pie! Maybe she used pie cherries and I might try that, too. She told me to drain all the vodka out of a bottle, saving it. Then fill the bottle with cherries or any fruit you want, pour in a cup of sugar, pour the vodka back in and then give it a gentle shake every day for a week or more to dissolve and distribute the sugar, then just shake it a little every once in a while for a total of 6 weeks. Finally, very important, hide it with your Christmas ornaments or ski boots so you don’t drink it before winter.
I’ve made it her way, loved it. Today I’m making cherry bomb liqueur in wide mouth quart jars. Into each jar I put
- 2 1/2 cups pitted sliced cherries ( I’ve made them before without pitting them, no worries.)
- 1 cup white sugar, pour it over the cherries. I don’t use brown sugar or coconut sugar because their color doesn’t make the liquor look as appetizing as white sugar. If you use coconut sugar use about 3/4 or 2/3 cups because it’s so much sweeter.
- 1 cup vodka. I have a half bottle left over, so I used a half bottle for all 3 jars. See the level in the vodka bottle?
Put on the lid and ring. Don’t water bath these, they don’t need to be sealed! You don’t have to use canning jars, I’ve used a gallon jar with lid before. I wouldn’t use plastic or metal, just glass. Gently shake each jar a little. Sugar will settle to the bottom but in several days it should be dissolved and invisible. Keep them in a cool dark place while they are working, and then store them in a cool dark place.
Another blogger, Sabine, makes something like this with bourbon and calls it Cherry Bounce. Here’s her recipe and post. Yum!
There you go. That’s it. Hmmm. Where will I hide these? Probably in 3 different places. Now to save interesting bottles to pour them in later for serving or gifts.
Weekly Photo Challenge: PURE