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Author Notes: This year when my family picked 10 lbs. of blueberries, I used the last several cups to make some blueberry syrup with the juice and some blueberry butter with the pulp. I am a total fan of using every last bit of something so it was a perfect recipe for me. And it got me thinking of other berries that I could do something similar with. Well sour cherries were on my list for the upcoming week so I decided that I would give that a try. But then I had a little thought of combining sour cherries with chai flavors. I could almost taste it. I adapted a recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for blueberry syrup and blueberry butter with a chai recipe from a blog called Art & Lemons. I have to say that I really like this combination of flavors. The first thing you taste is the chai and then the cherry follows with it's natural tartness. My husband thinks it would be great around Christmas time, which works for me since that's probably about when I'll crack that jar open. If you like chai you will like this butter.
Makes 2-3 half pints
- 6 cups sour cherries, rinsed, destemmed, and pitted
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- Grated zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 8 cardamom pods; crushed
- 2 whole star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 2 inch piece of ginger; thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- (These are almost word for word from the Ball canning book, with the exception of my alterations) In a stainless steel saucepan, combine the cherries with the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring and crushing the mixture with a potato masher. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Transfer cherries to a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth set over a deep bowl. Let drip until 2 1/2 cups of juice has been collected, adding water if necessary to yield the required quantity. Set juice aside to make syrup, add it to some sparkling water, or a shrub would be good too. Puree remaining pulp and juice in a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Set puree aside.
- Prepare caner, jars and lids.
- In a piece of cheesecloth combine the crushed cardamom pods, star anise, cloves, sliced ginger, and black peppercorns. Tie into a loose bundle and set aside.
- In a clean large stainless steel saucepan, combine the sour cherry puree, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and spice bundle. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds it's shape on a spoon.
- Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if necessary, by adding hot butter. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
- Place jars in caner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove caner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.