May 2009 Archives

Cherry Liqueur Recipe

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The color is gorgeous.  I especially love using Morello cherries.

imbibe


They are hard to find so you may have to plant your own tree!

inebriated cherries

Cherry Liqueur Recipe

Ingredients:


1.5 pounds sour red cherries, cut in half with the pit left in one side

1.5 cups granulated sugar

2.5 cups 100 proof vodka

small piece of cinnamon

Method: You put a third of the cherries in a half gallon sized jar, then pour a third of the sugar in. Do the next third of the cherries and the next third of the sugar. Then do the last third of both. So it is layered in the jar. If you want to use the cinnamon add it now. Then pour the vodka in. I guess the layering is just for fun because then you stir it all up. Every recipe I've read always calls for layering the ingredients in the jar first. Stir it up, cap it, and then put it in a cool, dry, dark place.

For the first two weeks shake the jar up at least once every day. This makes sure that the sugar completely dissolves. After that let it age for 3 months.

Strain out the cherries and pour the liqueur into bottles.

Recipe Notes: I have made many attempts at cherry liqueur and all of them were unsatisfactory until the last batch I made which was perfect!  I confidently recommend that you only make it using a pie (sour) cherry.  It doesn't matter what kind as long as it has red skin to contribute color.  Definitely leave the pits in, they add a very subtle almond flavor to the drink which makes the flavor more complex.
I also highly recommend that you use 100 proof vodka (or everclear).  If you are using 80 proof I would lower the sugar content or it will be more like cough syrup than a fruity enjoyable beverage.  The next time I make this it will be without the cinnamon.  Although I enjoyed the slight spiciness it added to the flavor, I want a clearer cherry flavor.


Vanilla Pears: A Home Canned Favorite

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pears in syrup 2

This recipe is a safe adaptation of the recipe for canning spiced pears from the Ball Blue Book Of Canning.   When my friend Lisa E and I were making canned pears together she had some vanilla bean pods she needed to use up and she thought it would complement the flavor of the pears, so we used less of the traditional cinnamon and cloves and cooked the pears in a sugar syrup with cut up pieces of vanilla.

The addition of vanilla gives these pears a wonderful delicate taste that can be enjoyed alone, in galettes, or on yogurt (one of my favorite ways to eat them).

In this recipe it is safe to substitute different spices.  If you don't like cloves, use nutmeg instead.  You can use one spice, two, or  as many as you like for a custom flavor.  I love pears with nutmeg but Lisa prefers hers without.  Don't be afraid to experiment.*

Ingredients:

2 to 3 pounds pears per quart

sugar syrup

cinnamon sticks

whole vanilla beans

whole cloves

canned pears 2

Instructions:

Hot Pack:  Wash pears; drain. Cut into quarters or halves; core and peel. Treat to prevent darkening (highly recommended). Make a light syrup (we used a 30% syrup last year and a 20% syrup this year. You don't have to use a syrup at all, but I recommend it because it helps preserve the texture and the color.) Cut up a whole vanilla bean into approximately 3/8" pieces and add them to your sugar syrup. Splitting the bean down the center will help release the vanilla seeds into the syrup. Keep syrup hot.

Cook pears one layer at a time in syrup for 5 to 6 minutes or until hot throughout. Put a small piece of cinnamon bark (about a 1/2" to 5/8" piece) and 3 to 6* cloves in each hot jar. Pack hot pears into hot jars leaving 1/2" head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two piece caps. Process pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes, in a boiling-water bath canner.

Recipe note:
  Remember that cinnamon and cloves will get stronger the longer they are in the jars so if you like a much spicier flavor, add more, but we used only three cloves per jar so that the vanilla (much more expensive) is the main flavoring. The vanilla accents rather than hides the pear flavor.

*If you are ever concerned about whether or not a substitution in a canning recipe is safe, always call your local Extension Service to find out.  Generally substitutions are discouraged but with many recipes it is safe to alter spices as they don't change the PH of the food and account for a very small percentage of the total volume of your ingredients.


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