These spiced cherry preserves are a tasty way to put up this most precious of summer fruit. Sweet, spicy, and tender, they’re a good companion for breakfast, cheese plates, and dessert!
Last Thursday, a big box of sweet cherries arrived from the nice folks from the Northwest Cherry Growers. I’ve slowly been working through them (look for black raspberry and cherry jam, cherry and meyer lemon marmalade, and more coming at you soon) and on Monday night, I used three pounds for my Facebook Live demo.
These preserved cherries (pitted but left whole) are simmered in a syrup that’s been spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and black peppercorns. They soften and slump, but retain enough texture that they’re a good companion for cheese plates, yogurt parfaits, and damp slices of buttery poundcake. I think you’ll like them!
- 3 pounds cherries, washed, stemmed and pitted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon stick bits (buy them from Penzeys or crush a cinnamon stick with a rolling pin)
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 star anise pieces
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 2 pint jars.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and star anise. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once the syrup reaches a boil and the sugar is fully dissolved, add the cherries. Return the liquid to a boil and reduce the heat to medium high.
- Cook the cherries for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are fully cooked with liquid.
- Using a slotted spoon, evenly divide the cooked cherries between the jars. Take care to remove the star anise pieces as you work, so that they don't overwhelm the flavor of the cherries. Top with liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a wooden chopstick to remove any trapped air bubbles and adjust the headspace, as necessary.
- Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process the jars in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- When time is up, remove the jars from the canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. Let them rest for a few days before eating, so that the flavors can mellow and mingle.