Berries in bourbon, need I really go on? These preserves are the perfect balance of sweet, but with that adult bourbon kick. Spread on it on bread, pour over ice cream, and for the love of all things yummy, use it as a filling in a little hand-pie or pop tart (I'll share that with you later this week).
|Pick-Your-Own cherries at Russell Orchards in Ipswich, MA.|
The cherries in this recipe were brought to you today by the letter, "R", as in Russell Orchards in Ipswich, Ma. The farm has been around since 1920, and the Russells are the third family to own the 120 acres and really make it a family experience. Their "pick-your-own" fields are absolutely huge, and every weekend you can find families traversing through them, picking fruit and creating memories.
|The husband helping pick through the cherries|
So our little family of my husband and I (sorry, no pugs in the picking fields), trucked off to Ipswich one Saturday afternoon because my heart was set on cherries. Fruit-picking wasn't something we did much when I was young. I'm finding I absolutely love the quiet and tedious work of foraging through the trees or bushes to find the best morsels available there.
|Beautiful sweet cherries|
Russell Orchards has some amazing morsels to offer. Beautiful, sweet, cherries dripped from every tree. While the orchards are not certified organic, the folks at Russell Orchards try to use a policy of Integrated Pest Management, meaning they only spray as a last result. Most plants on their property have never seen a chemical, and they're always happy to tell you which ones have been sprayed.
It's important to note this. A lot of local farms can't afford the pricey process to become USDA certified organic. Please don't shun local farms because they can't slap an "organic" label on their bounty. Instead, become educated on what practices your local farms use on their crops, so you can not only support your family's health, but the health of your community as well.
Bourbon Raspberry Cherry Preserves
Makes: 4-5, 4-ounce jelly jars
Adapted from: Autumn Makes and Does
There is no added pectin in this recipe. I was able to get a reasonable "set" to the preserves without it, however, it's not a "thick" set. Personally, I was OK with that, you could attempt boiling a little bit longer to get a more firm set. This recipe was adapted from Autumn Makes and Does, who combined a recipe from Christine Ferber of "Mes Confitures" and technique from Mrs. Wheelbarrow. Ferber, while she makes a beautiful jam, does not follow USDA processing guidelines, while Cathy from Mrs. Wheelbarrow does. I followed Autumn's procedure below and so far, so good.
- 1 2/3 pounds sweet cherries
- 1 pound raspberries (or as many of each as you have, as long as the fruit equals 2 2/3 pounds)
- 3 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ounce bourbon
- Wash and pit your cherries, wash your raspberries and put all finished fruit into a non-reactive pot (I use a Le Creuset dutch oven).
- Add your sugar and your lemon juice to the dutch oven, stir until all the fruit is coated. Leave the fruit at room temperature for an hour, allowing the fruit to macerate a bit.
- Now, place the dutch oven over medium heat. Stir along the way, you want all the sugar to dissolve. Once dissolved, stir the fruit mixture less, never letting it come above a simmer.
- Take the pot off the heat, cool it down to room temperature and put it in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, strain the cherries from the juice. Set the cherries aside and boil the juice all by itself.
- Boil the juice for 5 minutes, then return the cherries to the juice, bring it all back up to a boil for 5 minutes or so.
- Take the mixture off the heat and test for the set in any way you usually do, whether it be by temperature, or as I do, putting a teaspoon of the preserves on a plate that has been in the freezer for a bit. If the mixture stays when you push it with your finger, you have a decent set.
- If for some reason you don't like the set, you can return the mixture to the heat for another two minutes and then test again.
- Once you're happy with your set, stir in your bourbon (off the heat), and let the jam cool down for five minutes.
- I, like Autumn, processed the preserves in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, but I will note, as she did, it is not in the recommendation of the original recipe. You can freeze it, or it keeps well for a couple of weeks in the fridge as well.
Quickly, because this post has already gone on forever. It's late July in New England, that means my rush to preserve summer berries is on, and in some case has already gotten the better of me at this point. I'm canning and freezing like a madwoman. I'll share some of my favorite ways to hang onto berries in our next post this week.
Our backyard patch is already offering up a lot of cherry and grape tomatoes, herbs, green beans, cucumbers and jalapenos. I'll be pickling some of the cucumbers, and the green beans, well my husband like to eat them right off the stalk. However, if you're already feeling the pinch of a lot of tomatoes, I suggest the following two recipes (one of which will use up some of your herbs as well):
Baked Cherry Tomato Pasta
Angel Hair with Grape Tomatoes, Garlic, and Sausage
Since our garden is starting to give us a lot to use, my purchases at the farmers' market tend to go down. I spent only $10 this week on:
- Head of lettuce $2
- Two green bell peppers $3
- 1.5 pounds of red potatoes $3.50
- 4 ears of corn $1.50
What's coming out of your gardens or your farmers' markets this week? Let me know what you're making with it all!