Canning Merrill's Boozy Sour Cherries

Does anyone know if you can safely can this recipe:
I'm knee-deep in sour cherries and would love to put some up in this way.



Midge September 16, 2012
Em-i-lis-- I'm late to this question but wanted to add that I made these last year and still have a jar in my fridge, which seem to be fine. They are killer in a clafoutis.
em-i-lis September 16, 2012
great to know, midge! thanks! btw, reaction to your rhubarb scones reached fever-pitch last week. i served them twice in two different settings,a nd both times, wow! :)
RobertaJ June 29, 2012
I don't know if sour cherries differ from Bings (I can't get the sour guys out here in SoCal), but I have kept cordialed Bing cherries made by Jacques Pepin's method in the fridge for well over a year with no issues. He uses vodka mixed with corn syrup, and totally covers the cherries with this mixture (1&1/2C vodka to 1/2C corn syrup). The cherries are whole, not pitted, but the stems trimmed down to about 1/2 an inch. I *think* that's just for aesthetics, but since who am I to question Jacques, I do it. Last year I did 2, larger-than-quart-size jars, and I just did this year's batch. I have 1 full jar and about 1/2 of the other one left from last year (packed about this time last year) and there is no sign of any spoilage. They're just delightfully sweet and boozy, and great in cocktails ! I do seal the jars with plastic wrap before I screw on the lids, but that's more to keep the lids from sticking to the jar as a result of the sticky corn syrup. The cherries will shrink in size, but intensify in flavor.
chefsusie June 28, 2012
My canning book (copyright 2011) Offers recipes for canning fruit liqueur in a water bath. Ping me if you want the recipe. (It notes cherries too!) My other canning book does too. My books are new and are well-known.
em-i-lis June 28, 2012
SKK, yes!! This makes total sense, and you are right, there is sugar in both. Amanda's was a Recipe Redux in the NYTimes several years ago (amazing!), and I found the other on Mrs. Wheelbarrow's website. Many thanks!!!
Kristy M. June 28, 2012
Hi em-i-lis,

I've made these with friends every year during sour cherry season and we all keep our big batches of them in the fridge. I still have some from last year and I'm still here. The alcohol preserves them, and the gentle simmer guarantees that not much of it cooks off. The only thing is that they don't stay bright red, like in the photo. They get darker, slightly purple, but are still really pretty. Have you ever seen the jarred Luxardo maraschino cherries? That's what these remind me of.
em-i-lis June 28, 2012
Gotcha, Kristy. Many thanks! I'm off to make a batch and will just set up camp for them in the fridge. :)
SKK June 27, 2012
Hi em-i-lis, I have been thinking about your question all afternoon. Do a lot of preserving myself. Alcohol is a preservative. Water bath canning is not advised. Essentially, you would be cooking some of the alcohol out, which would be counter to both flavor and preserving.

Merrill's cherry recipe states you can keep it for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. I would consider freezing the them. The alcohol won't freeze, and the cherries won't get mushy and turn brown.

BigPan's answer is good. Why his recipe keeps longer is the addition of the sugar. His recipe should keep for at least a year in the refrigerator.

Hope this helps, and I am longing for your problem!

em-i-lis June 28, 2012
SKK, Thank you and you too, BigPan, for these thoughtful, helpful replies. I do have a follow-up question though- why is waterbath canning not advised for alcohol-infused fruit? The reason I ask is that I regularly make Amanda's brandied peaches and just this week made Mrs. Wheelbarrow's sour cherry-apricot-St. Germain jam- both call for waterbath canning processing. You can then shelve the jarred results for up to a year. Thanks in advance for additional thoughts on this... Best, Em-i-lis
SKK June 28, 2012
Hi Em-i-lis, this is only a guess because for some reason I could not find either recipe on the site. In Mrs.Wheelbarrow's recipe, because it is a jam, there would be a lot more sugar and in water bath canning sugar is important. Amanda's recipe also must have sugar.

I could easily be wrong, but that is my thinking on the matter.
bigpan June 27, 2012
My success with cherries is to make as a simple rumtopf...
Put cherries in a jar with a ratio of 3 parts fruit with 1 part white sugar. Mix and let sit for a day. Pour dark rum (the medium color, not dark dark) to cover, stir, put on a lid and store cool and dark for a month.
Enjoy over ice cream, pancakes, or in a martini glass of chilled vodka.
As long as the fruit is covered with booze you are okay, but I keep in the fridge as a precaution.
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