Sunday, July 24, 2011

Birthday Gifts and Canning Brandied Cherries

My youngest daughter called me earlier in the week and announced she wanted to come visit for a day or two this past weekend... Well YEAH!!! Exciting news for me! 

My Hannah (who I sometimes call Hannah-Belle or most of the time, Yanni... don't ask where that name came from, I have no idea but it's what I call her) had recently celebrated a birthday and I had her gift here awaiting a visit so I could give it... she's a real grown-up now... she has moved past her mid-twenties and is on the road to 30... my baby girl!!! It's so hard to believe what a lovely, smart, talented young woman she has become... she should still be "Foah" years old in my eyes but time has a way of moving on.

She has recently become interested in getting back to her roots... she planted a flower garden this year and has plans for a vegetable garden next spring... so I bought her a pressure canner, a book on home canning, and a set of canning tools... and the promise to teach her how to use them. She was excited at the prospect and as soon as she received the book, began devouring it and exclaiming and planning all the recipes she wanted to try... it was a gift well-received and appreciated... made me glow!

Hannah arrived on Friday evening with her sweet boyfriend, Nick, for the weekend visit... we grilled burgers, DH made his famous hot oil salad, and we roasted potatoes for dinner... YUM!

I thought we'd begin bright and early Saturday morning with our canning marathon...

Earlier Friday afternoon I had (at long last after quite a search) found a cherry pitter and purchased it, then on to the grocery store for a few pounds of cherries they had on sale this week... I've been wanting to make Brandied Cherries for some time and now was my chance... and with a willing assistant.

My Yanni was anxious to get started and said "Why can't we do the cherries tonight?" So we did, with plans to do some other things the next day.

Here's what we did...

The recipe called for three and a half pounds of sweet red cherries (we doubled it)

And began the process of pitting about seven pounds of cherries with the new pitter gadget... FUN!

Perfectly pitted cherry!

Once all the cherries were pitted...

We made a syrup of 2 cups granulated sugar, 1-1/2 cups water, and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (of course we doubled the recipe so this was doubled, you do the math)... we decided to throw a cinnamon stick into the syrup for a bit more flavor and brought the mixture to a boil, making sure all the sugar was dissolved, discarding the cinnamon stick... we kept the mixture hot while we prepared our jars and lids... boiling them and keeping them hot until ready for use...

Once the jars were hot... we added a quarter cup of the prepared syrup to each pint jar.

Next, we filled the jars with our pitted cherries...

Then we added a quarter cup of brandy to each jar...

We then finished filling the jars with more of the prepared syrup, leaving about a half inch of headspace.

Look at the concentration and intensity on my sweet girl's face

We processed our jars of cherry goodness in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

After processing, we removed the jars from the boiling water (using Yanni's new jar lifter!) and set them on the counter to cool and to wait for that satisfying sound... the PING of each successfully sealed jar.

In all honesty... this time we did NOT hear any pings... by the time we were done with our project and had talked and laughed and caught up with each other's lives... it was 2:30 a.m. and we dragged ourselves exhaustedly to bed... DH woke up about 4 a.m. to, Ummm, well... you know... what else to we get up at 4 a.m. for??? (psst... potty time)... and heard a couple pings... so we all awoke later that morning to a counter full of sealed jars of garnet orbs of cherry goodness.

Can't wait to try it on vanilla ice cream with a little fudge sauce (Black Forest Sundae maybe?)


  1. Oh wow, those look beautiful! How very lucky you are to have a daughter that wants to not only visit with you, but one eager to learn something you are passionate about. It will be a skill she will treasure the rest of her life.

  2. I have to ask, what is hot oil salad?

  3. He doesn't share the recipe exactly (I don't think he really uses one, just makes it up as he goes along, but it's yummy!)... but it's basically olive oil heated with garlic cloves for flavor (these are discarded before serving) and a little wine to deglaze the pan... some bacon bits and then add a good leaf lettuce and let it just wilt down... serve hot... That's basically it, I think. ~~Granny

  4. Out of curiosity, because I LOVE cherries, could you do this without the brandy?

    1. Sure, you could just can them in a simple syrup with a little lemon juice. ~~Granny

  5. Hi Granny, What did you can yesterday for NCIFD? One of my projects was your Brandied Cherries. Mine weeped a bit even though I left a 1/2" headspace. Mentioned it on a facebook canning page and one of the ladies said to shut off and wait at least ten minutes. I usually wait for the boil to subside just not that long. How long until we can dig into them--I made 3 1/2 pints and want to make more if we like them while they are in season and on sale!

    1. Hi Cheri... I canned shelled beans yesterday that I picked from the garden yesterday morning... got six pints! Give the cherries a week before you open them if you can... they are SO good! One of my favorites! ~~Granny

  6. Excited to try these! I am a novice at canning and am scared to death of the pressure canner!. I search for unique recipes for canning things not found in the grocery stores. Thank you so much for this!

  7. How many jars of cherries did you get with 7 lbs. to begin with?


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