This year was a wonderful harvest for our two cherry trees on our property. They both need a pretty good pruning this year, so we’ll have to be sure to remember to do such this late fall.
My Father and Sister were graciously wonderful to offer their help picking, as Tim was tied up in the construction of our lovely new chicken coop and working longer hours at work to boot. I on the other side, had my hands full with Nathan our little 9 week old baby!
We had close to 9 pounds picked for these preserves, let alone all the ones we ate fresh and some I used to make cherry turnovers; Those didn’t last long in our house at all!
The cherry preserves I made are pretty heavy in the sugar category, I’m thinking next year I will try a lower sugar option and see how that goes. For now though, it was pretty successful I think for what we wanted, I will be using these mostly to make more cherry turnovers over the year as those were quite the hit. Perhaps I’ll share those in another post…
Gone Wild Farmhouse Cherry Preserves
8 lbs. 13oz. / 3.997 kg. fresh pitted and halved sweet cherries
7 lbs. 4 oz. / 3.289 kg. white sugar
2 large oranges, zest and juice
3 fresh lemons, juice and zest
Place the cherries in a large stock / preserving pot and add the white sugar to them, stir well to coat the cherries and make sure there are no sugar lumps. Let sit for 1 hour to render out some of the juices.
Heat the cherry / sugar mixture on the stovetop on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover with a cloth. Let stand at room temperature for 12 hours.
Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, add in the orange and lemon juices and zests. Stir often, and skim off any foam that results until the syrup thickens, test using the spoon test (judging by the dripping) or a chilled dish – if your draw your finger through and the path remains clear the syrup is ready.
Remove pan from the heat, portion the cherries to the jars and cover with the syrup in pint or half-pint jars, I prefer half-pint and got approx. 7 jars of cherry syrup and 12 jars of cherry preserves. Add the rings after heating for 5-10 minutes in hot water and the rings to fingertip tightness. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes at sea level.
Remove jars from boiling water bath and let sit on a towel upright, gently remove the excess water from on top and let sit for 12 hours.
Voila! Delicious cherry preserves and syrup.