Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries and Boozy Cherry Molasses

Cherry season usually gets away from me.  It seems like I find out cherries are on about twelve hours before the end of the (what feels like a twenty four hour) season.  I usually manage to get one or two glorious pounds.  We dispatch of those quickly with a manic eating and pit spitting binge that ends not with the jars and jars of pie filling and preserved cherries that I wanted but with pink stained lips and teeth and hands.  Then I sigh, promise myself I’ll get the jump on it next year and wait semi-patiently for blueberry season where I compensate by picking about a hundred pounds of blueberries.*

*Would that I were joking.  I put up in the neighborhood of 100 hand-picked pounds of blueberries every year. We were talking cherries, though, weren’t we?

But not this year.  Oh no.  Not this year.  This year, thanks to my good friend Lisa, I heard about an almost unbelievable deal from one of our local Amish bulk stores.  They were putting together a group order of cherries; sweet dark cherries, freshly picked, for $0.95 per pound.  And what’s more, they would be getting sour cherries, already pitted, in a couple weeks time for $1.26 per pound. I ordered thirty pounds of sweet darks and thirty pounds of sours.  I didn’t just get a jump on it.  I bungeed. Off a cliff.

The results of my cherry preserving bender are nothing short of lip-smacking and I’ll be sharing all of the recipes over the next couple weeks.  Some of the recipes require fresh cherries, some require frozen and some can take advantage of fresh, frozen or canned cherries; I’ll start with the ones that use the fresh cherries first.  Aren’t I logical?

First up is a two-fer; Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries and Boozy Cherry Molasses.  Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries are exactly what they sound like.  They are cherries soaked in a rum-heavy sweetened syrup.  And they are heavenly.  These tipsy little beauties can be eaten straight from the jar, added to baked goods, used to garnish drinks (think Maraschino cherries, but delicious and all natural), or perched on top of a scoop of ice cream that has been drizzled with the happy side-product of their creation; Boozy Cherry Molasses (a jewel-toned rum and Kirsch fortified, thick, sweet, intensely cherry syrup boiled down after making Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries.) What do you do with the Cherry Molasses?  It’s a chameleon, I tell you.  Pour it over ice cream, brush it on grilled pork or venison, eat it from a spoon.

You have some decisions to make when you start with these; stems or no stems and pits or no pits.  I prefer to leave mine with stems and pits intact. I think it makes for a prettier finished product but I’m not all flash and no substance; leaving the pits intact imparts a gentle almond flavor and leaving the stems on gives each cherry a built-in handle for removal from the jar.  If you want to remove the stems and pits, go for it! I’ve included the different quantities needed for both versions.

For a printer-friendly, photo free version of this recipe, click away!

Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries

Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (See here to learn more about the book.)

Yield: about 4 (8 ounce) jars.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 1/2 cups cherries with pits and stems intact (5 cups of cherries if you remove stems but leave pits intact, 7 1/2 cups of unpitted cherries if you wish to pit and stem them before preserving)

Per Jar:

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Golden Rum

Prepare your jars and lids. If you wish to make the cherries shelf-stable, please also prepare your canner.

Place a stainless steel or non-reactive stock pot over medium-high heat; add the sugar and water to the pot and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Bring the syrup to a boil and add all of the cherries immediately.  Return to a boil while stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat and allow to remain at a gentle boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Using a slotted spoon and a wide-mouthed funnel, transfer the hot cherries from the hot syrup into the jars, leaving 1/2 of an inch of head space (the space between the rim of the jar and the food).  Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Golden Rum to each jar, then spoon or ladle the hot cherry syrup into the jar, maintaining the 1/2 of an inch of head space.

Insert a chopstick or skewer down the insides of the jar to remove air bubbles.  If necessary, add more cherry syrup to keep that 1/2 of an inch of head space.*  Wipe the rims of the jars, center the lids on the jars and screw down the rings until finger-tip tight.

*Hang on to that leftover hot syrup and leave it in the pan; that’s the most important part of the Boozy Cherry Molasses!  You can either make the Boozy Cherry Molasses right away, or pop the pan into the refrigerator to complete later.

You can either refrigerate the cherries in the syrup for up to a month or you can process them in a boiling water canner to make them shelf stable for a year.  I prefer to can them.

To process them, place the jars in a stockpot or canner, covering them by 1-2 inches of warm tap water.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  When the water is at a rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down), begin timing and allow to process for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the lid to the pot, turn off the heat, wait 5 minutes and then lift the jars straight from the water and place them carefully on a cooling rack positioned over a towel.  Do not tilt the jars (it interferes with the natural formation of a vacuum which is one of the things that keeps the food safe and shelf-stable!)

Cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.  As the jars cool, you will hear a popping sound.  That is the sound of the lids sealing.  That is what you want to hear.  Check the jars after 24 hours.  If any of them have not sealed, simply store in the refrigerator.  Wipe the jars clean and label them before storing in a cool, dry place (like a cupboard.)

Boozy Cherry Molasses

Yield: Between 1 1/2 and 2 (8 ounce) jars

Ingredients:

  • Remaining hot cherry syrup from making Rum-Soaked Preserved Cherries

Per Jar:

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Golden Rum
  • 1 teaspoon Kirsh (or other cherry liqueur)

Place the remaining cherry syrup back over the burner over medium-high heat and return to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low and maintain a gentle boil until syrup is reduced by half (or more, depending on how thick and concentrated you want the syrup.)  The syrup should fall slowly from the spoon when thickened and leave a clear trail when you draw your finger across a spoon that was dipped into it. But do be careful.  Hot sugary syrups are, well, HOT!  Be patient.  Wait  before testing! When the syrup is thickened to your liking remove from heat.

Prepare your jars and lids. If you wish to make the syrup shelf-stable, please also prepare your canner.

Add the Golden Rum and Kirsh to your jars and ladle the thickened syrup into the jars to within 1/2 an inch of the rims.  Wipe the rims, center the lids on the jars and screw the rings on until fingertip tight.  I usually process this in a boiling water bath along with the Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries, but if you opted to save the hot cherry syrup and complete the task later, boiling water processing is optional.  As with the preserved cherries, you can store the Boozy Cherry Molasses in the refrigerator or process them for one year’s worth of shelf stability.  If you opt to can them, the directions are as follows.

To process them, place the jars in a stockpot or canner, covering them by 1-2 inches of warm tap water.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  When the water is at a rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down), begin timing and allow to process for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the lid to the pot, turn off the heat, wait 5 minutes and then lift the jars straight from the water and place them carefully on a cooling rack positioned over a towel.  Do not tilt the jars (it interferes with the natural formation of a vacuum which is one of the things that keeps the food safe and shelf-stable!)

Cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.  As the jars cool, you will hear a popping sound.  That is the sound of the lids sealing.  That is what you want to hear.  Check the jars after 24 hours.  If any of them have not sealed, simply store in the refrigerator.  Wipe the jars clean and label them before storing in a cool, dry place (like a cupboard.)

Just look at this elixir poured over chocolate ice cream.

And ooh boy, how about doing this?

Go on.  You know you want some…

Oh.  I’m sorry.  You can’t taste it through the computer?  I guess you’ll just have to make some.  You’ll be happy you did.  Now pardon me, please.  I have to finish off this bowl of ice cream before it melts or I do.

Comments

  1. *Drool*

  2. Your rum soaked cherries remind me of “cherry bounce”. I always have a jar in the fridge — though I make it with jarred sour cherries and bourbon. I really like the idea of utilizing fresh, in season cherries!!

  3. I second the *drool* I’m thinking that the molasses would be a great Xmas gift if I can work out a good cocktail recipe to make with it. Off to search the internet to price little bottles…

  4. Rebecca says:

    Traci- And how.

    Julia- Cherry Bounce- I had to look that up. But I think you’re absolutely right. Using fresh, in season cherries would make that sing!

    Maggie- That ruby red molasses would be gorgeous in bottles. A good cocktail recipe, eh? Hmmmm. Let’s work on that.

  5. I am soooooo jealous. We dont have any place around here that sells the cherries in bulk like this.

  6. I bought a bunch of cherries last weekend and was thinking of making bourbon cherries, but this is brilliant!

  7. You got my attention now. This is a brilliant recipe and beautiful images. Love your blog.

  8. Yum! Fresh cherries are overflowing here in Washington State right now too. I wonder if I could get away with spooning it over my morning yogurt. Nothing like a little booze to get the day started! (kidding of course)

  9. these look so incredible! I happen to have pitted and stemmed cherries from pick your owns last season that are just screaming to turn into these beauties. I usually make home made cordials out of my end of year fruits but this is such a great idea.

  10. Hi Rebecca!
    I found your blog from your Tasty Kitchen profile–this recipe caught my attention here. I have had this page bookmarked for a few weeks and finally got my act together and made the cherries tonight!!! I ended up with five 8 oz. jars of the rum soaked cherries that I processed for the shelf. I then proceeded to make the Boozy Cherry Molasses with the left over syrup and ended up with 1/2 of an 8 oz. jar that I’m keeping in the fridge. I don’t think it’ll last very long… I want to drink it straight! LOL! I used Amaretto in place of the rum and the kirsch and it is sooooo good. Thanks so much for these recipes!

    Time to go to lick the spoons and ladles clean before sticking them in the dishwasher…

  11. this is going to be my first venture into canning…i am trying this with sour cherries and brandy. i know you are not supposed to vary from the recipe when canning…i try to remain positive, it’s going to work!

  12. I made these last night and they are wonderful! I use them in a cocktail. Crushed or cube ice, a little vodka, 1 to 2 cherries, a little of the juice, carbonated water. I don’t have a name for it but it is just enough sweetness. Thank you so much for this recipe. I had these cherries at my sisters house in Maine two years ago and started looking on the internet for a recipe to make them at home. I found this one and bookmarked it. Finally got around to trying them. I will be looking at other recipes here. Love your Blog!

  13. I just finished making these and they are so easy to make. I had the most lovely huge lush Bing cherries… Now, I recognized that this was a very light syrup. Not even one sugar to one water which is what a simple syrup is. It is exactly half that, so light. I liked that. I liked that the cherries were not cooked too long in the syrup. I loved the addition of rum – but, I cannot taste it at all. Ok. It has only been 10 minutes. I am just sampling the 4 or 5 that couldn’t fit in a jar with 1/4 t of rum added to a T of syrup over the berries. How long do you let them sit until they are fully developed in flavour? I have canned many fruits and usually they taste how they will taste at the moment of canning them. This is obviously different.
    Thanks for your help!
    :)
    Valerie

  14. I’ve been wanting to make these since I saw the recipe but cherries around here “in season” usually run almost $4 a pound, so it was a little cost prohibitive for my frugal sensabilities. But I just found some beautiful Bing cherries for just over $2.50/lb so I snagged a few pounds. Double bonus – I also found canning supplies galore in the markdown bins, so I feel like a kid in a candy store/at Christmas/with a surprise birthday party all wrapped up on one!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] the most important part of the Boozy Cherry Molasses!” says Rebecca, the author of the blog “Foodie with Family: Eating high on the hog in Amish country” where I found this [...]

  2. [...] Here is the link to both the recipes – Boozy Cherries [...]

  3. [...] made a big batch of rummed-up homemade cocktail cherries for my guest bartender night at the Green Hornet this Saturday. A by-product from 4 jars of [...]

  4. [...] and I’d been dying to try my hand at canning. I found this recipe on Foodie With Family for Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries, and it seemed right up my [...]

  5. [...] a real adventurer when it comes to mixed drinks, I do like to make alcohol-laced desserts. I love rum soaked cherries, flambéed bananas, Grand Marnier cheesecakes, and more. There’s something about the way [...]

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