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Author Notes: These cherries are super easy to make and perfect if you are new to canning or have some leftover booze sitting in your pantry. Although this old Italian pantry staple is made with grappa, you can sub your favorite strong liquor (like brandy). As the jars sit, the alcohol will lose its strength and you'll be left with a rich, sweet, intensely flavored syrup that can be used in cakes, creams, custards, pudding and dessert in general. Use the cherries in cocktails, as an ice cream or cake topping, or just eat from the jar. —Valentina Solfrini
Makes 4 13.5 fl.oz jars
- 2 and 1/2 pounds Whole cherries, possibly with stalks
- 2 and 1/3 cups grappa, or other liquor that is 45 C° or above
- 1 and 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup whole brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract per jar
- a 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon bark per jar
- 3 to 5 whole cloves per jar
- Sterilize the jars by boiling them in a large pot for 15 minutes, then thoroughly dry them. You can do so by popping them in an oven preheated to 120 F° for 20-25 minutes.
- To prepare the syrup, combine the water and sugar in a pot and simmer for a few minutes, until the sugar is well dissolved and the syrup looks transparent and golden. Let cool.
- Wash the cherries and dry them thoroughly. Cut the stalk short but leave it attached. Pierce each cherry with a needle, and arrange them in the sterilized jars up to ¾ of the height.
- Combine the alcohol with the cooled syrup, and fill each jar up with the liquid, making sure to cover the cherries completely. You can add a circle of baking paper in each jar to keep the cherries covered, as they will tend to float.
- Lastly, add the spices and vanilla to each jar, and close well. Leave to steep for at least 3 months, and up to 6, shaking the jars once or twice a week for the first month.