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Cherry Preserves

Cherry Preserves

Ingredients

4 pounds cherries, Bing, Sour or both, pitted
1lemon, juice and zest plus more to taste
5 pounds sugar, actual amount to be determined below
1 splash Kirsch

Cooking Instructions

Yield: approximately 8 - 1/2 pint jars

Roughly chop the cherries. Place them in a large, heavy bottomed pot and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Place over medium heat stirring frequently. Allow the cherries to give up their liquid and begin to simmer.

Simmer cherries for 1/2 hour until they are soft. Measure the quantity of cherries (and liquid) you have using a measuring cup. Add 3/4 of the amount of cherries you have in sugar. For example, if you have 8 cups of cooked cherries, you would add 6 cups of sugar. Stir in the sugar and bring the mixture to a low boil.

Skim off any foam that rises to the top of the preserves and boil mixture until the liquid begins to thicken. Stir often so that the preserves don't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

Begin testing the "doneness" of the preserves when the liquid thickens slightly and lightly coats the back of a spoon. Put a small plate in the freezer to chill it. Take a small dollop of the cherry preserve and put it on the plate. Allow it to cool and run your finger through it. If it thickens and wrinkles slightly as it has cooled, it is ready to come off the heat. If it remains runny and does not wrinkle on the chilled plate, allow it to cook another 10 minutes and check it again. If it is cooked too long on the stovetop, you run the risk of burning the sugars so take baby steps in testing it and cooking it more.

Once the preserves are done, remove the pot from the heat and add more lemon juice, as you like. Add a good splash of Kirsch and pour into hot, dry sterilized jars. Clean the rims and seal the jars. Process jars in a water bath for 8 minutes. Remove from water, cool on counter and listen for the "pop"; the sound of the lid being suctioned down and the sign the jars have been properly and safely sealed. Tighten the rings, label the jars and store them in a cool, dry place. center comes out clean, approximately 60-70 minutes

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