Monday, January 17, 2011
Pickled cherries and cherry jam (cookbook challenge #1)
The Cookbook Challenge is back! This year we are only doing recipes fortnightly, so I hope that I'll do a better job of keeping up with the challenge. There's a forum for all the posts and themes.
The theme for the first challenge is stonefruit. I was lucky enough to get a 5kg box of cherries for $10, and so decided to preserve them.
I found a recipe in Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion called pickled cherries. I added a couple of extra spices to the mix (star anise and cinnamon), and in hindsight I would have liked to have used red wine vinegar (or perhaps spike it with some pinot) so that it would be a nice rich red colour. Next time!
850ml white wine vinegar
24 black peppercorns
6 bay leaves
6 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 unpeeled clove of garlic
1kg cherries, rinsed and stems trimmed to 1cm long.
Dissolve sugar in vinegar in a large saucepan over gentle heat.
Add all other ingredients except cherries and simmer for 10 minutes.
Allow syrup to cool.
Pack fruit into hot, sterilised jars.
Pour syrup over fruit and seal.
The mix smelled great but it will be a while before I know how it went, as the cherries should be left for a few weeks before opening.
I also made my first-ever batch of jam using the rest of the cherries. I had a bit of trouble getting this jam to set, and overcooked it a little. It has a bit of a smoky smell - but still tastes great!