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Cherries in Wine
Makes 4 pints
You know summer has finally arrived when the cherries start to come in. The season is short, so in the months that follow I am always grateful that I have taken the time to put some up. These preserves are great used in both savory and sweet dishes. I love having them on hand for unexpected company. All I have to do is dump 1⁄2 cup into a wineglass and top with whipped cream for a surprisingly elegant dessert. Cherries have high acidity, as do wine and orange juice, making this a safe product for water bath processing. I use an olive pitter to pit the cherries.
• 2 quarts red wine
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 cups orange juice
• 24 whole cloves
• Sixteen 3-inch strips orange zest
• 4 pounds Bing cherries, pitted (about 8 cups)
Place the wine, sugar, orange juice, cloves, and orange zest in a medium pot. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring all the while to dissolve the sugar and ensure it doesn’t burn.
Have ready 4 scalded pint jars and their bands. (To scald, simply dip the jars in boiling water. You don’t need to sterilize the jars, as you will be processing them for over 10 minutes.) Simmer new lids in a small pan of hot water to soften the rubberized flange.
Add the cherries to the wine and simmer for 10 minutes, until they are soft but not collapsed looking. Remove the cherries with a slotted spoon and ladle them into the hot jars.
Reduce the wine mixture remaining in the pot over medium-low heat to about half its volume, about 10 minutes. It will be rather viscous. Strain the wine mixture and pour over the cherries in the jars, leaving 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch of headspace.
Wipe the rims, set on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight. Place the jars in a big pot with a rack in the bottom and add enough water to cover the jars by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and gently boil the jars for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, allow the jars to rest in the water for 5 minutes, and then remove. Allow the jars to cool, untouched, for 4 to 6 hours. Check the seals and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.
From the Trade Paperback edition.