Preserved Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Jubilee is a classic dessert that is a mixture of cherries and booze. It sounds great already right? Most often its flambee’d and served over ice cream. Although I love setting stuff on fire, its not very common that I set stuff ablaze indoors. We have fresh cherries around usually only once a year, and that’s during pick your own season. I appreciate the experience of picking special fruits during  the time of year when the fruit is at its best. This gives my children the opportunity to understand where our food comes from and why I rarely let them buy strawberries in January. Eating seasonal foods is important to me, however in the age of convenience its easy to take for granted what we have available to us. The fact that we have apples and strawberries all year long is not natural, or how about Banana’s? Having those around at all here is a miracle in itself. No bananas grow in the North Eastern mountains. 

Although I’m not setting out to deprive my children of apples, bananas and strawberries I want to teach them about foods we CAN get locally and seasonally. I want them to truly develop an appreciation for foods they’ve picked with their own little hands. I want them to realize that preserving these foods in the summer helps sustain us in the winter. Although eating local and seasonal seems overwhelming and impossible to do, I take the steps to teach the boys where our food comes from and when. This very basic  concept I feel is crucial, food takes work. It should never be taken for granted, we should always appreciate and be grateful. The farmer planted the seed and nurtured its growth, Daddy worked hard to earn money to pay for the food and Momma worked to prepare, preserve and cook it. 
Although it is adorably funny when Riley proclaims he will “starve to death” if he has to move out away from Momma, what he doesn’t realize is that I’m teaching him more than he’ll ever know. Each and every moment he’s watching me  he’s learning, and ultimately that’s my Neo-homesteading goal. To take the steps I can to re-assure my family that life does not have to be over-complicated. We can take little steps towards sustainability without having a drastic affect on our basic necessities and desires. It does take a bit more effort to pick your own fruit and preserve it yourself however, your supporting a local farmer and your not buying jam from the store. I appreciate that we’re sharing memories that will last a lifetime. I can not put into words how gratifying it is to crack open a jar of home preserved fruit from summer. Its a memory of my sun-kissed babies picking fruits, its the memory of doing it myself as a child. (Although we did not have pick your own cherry farms when I was a child in Maine, it was blueberries, blackberries, apples and strawberries)
Ok, so yes I realize its February. I’ll cut to the chase, your probably wondering what the hell is she talking about? Theres two feet of snow outside my window and she’s yap-yap-yapping about pick your owns? The last time we went to the cherry orchard for cherries we came home with 40 pounds worth. As a result we had a few batches of jam, some ice cream, cobblers and a gallon sized bag stashed in the freezer. See where I’m going? Yes, the almighty freezer bag of OH NO! I have to do something with this ASAP! I am a devout tree-hugger and I’ve related losing my trees to losing my children. Although drastic differences, I feel absolutely devastated when something does not come out as I’d hoped and its wasted fruit we picked as a family. 
I came across a bag in the freezer that was border-line a toss out. I did not want more jam since we already have cherry as well as blueberry, strawberry and cranberry. I wanted something closer to a compote. I could have simply preserved them but I wanted something sweet-ish. This recipe is great on pancakes or ice cream, perfect with some vinegar and spice over a bold steak, or even in a blender with some  ice, vodka , orange juice and lemon juice. Its sweet, not too sweet and slightly boozie. Its a powerful reminder of the greatness nature has to offer.
Preserved Cherries Jubilee
I’ve made something similar in the past that I’ve called “drunk fruit.” Drunk fruit is a mixture of a simple syrup and left over fruit that I’ve made flavored liquors with. For this recipe I use fresh frozen cherries. It was a grab bag of light and dark. You can use whichever type of cherries and whatever type of liquor you’d like from a traditional kirschwasser to rum or brandy.
1 gallon sized bag of cherries, approximately 4-5 pounds
2 cups sugar

3 cups water, cherry juice or apple cider

zest from 1 lemon, half the juice (2-3 tablespoons)
1 cup dried cherries (cranberries are nice too)
5-6 tablespoons of cognac, rum, brandy or kirschwasser
In a stock pot combine cherries, water or juice, lemon zest and juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir to prevent sticking and burning. Reduce to a simmer and simmer 45 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness. You will want it to remain somewhat wet because the dried fruit will absorb some of the moisture. Remove from heat and stir in dried cherries and cognac (or whatever booze you’ve selected) 
Ladle into clean, sterilized jars. They can be sterilized in boiling water for 10 minutes or in the dishwasher. Mine has a heated setting that keeps them warm.  Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a  wet rag and then dry them. Place the lids onto the jars and tighten the rings onto each of them. 
Follow package instructions on your mason jars to process them according to the size of your jars and your altitude. I’m approximately 1,000+ feet above sea-level so I processed them 10-15 minutes. If your higher you will process them longer, if you are lower it may take less time. 
Refrigerator Recipe: This recipe can be halved by using 2-3 pounds of cherries, 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of liquid with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. This can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks.

Produce Was Picked At 

Strawberry Acres
1767 Clearview Road
Coplay Pa, 18037

“Earth who gives to us this food, Sun who makes it ripe and good, Dearest Earth and Dearest Sun. We’ll not forget what you have done.”