Usually cherries are an absolute treat for me that are just eaten fresh and whole (and usually as quickly as possible). But if you are lucky enough to have a sufficient quantity that you can’t possibly gorge yourself on all of them without being ill, you may want to preserve some before they go off. Spiced brandied cherries are great way to save the taste of summer to enjoy later in the year. And use the pits to make Cherry Vinegar.
About 0.5 – 0.75 kg cherries (adjust recipe if you have more than this)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 cardamom pods (or 2 tsp cardamom seeds)
2 whole cloves
2 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup brandy
Pit the cherries (I used an olive pitter) – save the pits to make Cherry Vinegar
In a medium saucepan bring sugar, water, lemon juice and spices to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened – about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Stir in the brandy and pitted cherries. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries to hot, sterilised jars. Pour the liquid over the cherries to cover them to within 1cm of the top, and seal.
Store in a cool dark place for at least 6 weeks before using. Once opened, store in the refrigerator.
You can use them to create a simple but delicious dessert with yoghurt or icecream. The brandy can be used as a sauce on its own or used to make cocktails.
Put 1/2 to 1 cup fresh cherry pits in a glass jar or other container with a lid. Fill with about 2 cups cider or white wine vinegar, cover and set aside for at least a week and up to a month to let the cherry flavour blend into the vinegar. Strain and discard the pits.
Use Cherry Pit Vinegar in salad dressings, marinades or glazes. Try it mixed with soda water and a bit of honey as a refreshing drink.