sorry for the long silence but bunnyfoot has entered the zone. no, not the zone diet, nothing quite that terrible. bunnyfoot has entered the canning zone.
i have a real-love hate relationship with canning. all those hours of long, hot, hard work over boiling water, scaldingly hot glass jars, the messy and tedious skinning of fruit and tomatoes, and the deep-seated suspicion that, despite my most anal precautions, any one of those festive-seeming jars could harbor the dreaded mr. botchulism in it's treacherous little heat-processed heart. but the love. ahhh the love. my heart goes pitter-patter when i hear those lids make that little popping sound as they seal...like a kitchen full of crickets. and on those dark, cold, rainy, winter days when i crack open a jar of summer-fresh, blazingly red, sweet-sweet tomatoes, i can feel the warm sunshine on my face and i actually reminisce fondly of these dog days of canning. and so i can. i can all i can stand. i can all summer long. and when i can i usually want to get out of the kitchen as quickly and as frequently as possible. which means indian takeout and not much bunnyfooting around. so my apologies for the silence, but you see, i couldn't really help it...
having already stashed away a rainbow of jams, i'm rolling up my sleeves in preparation for the dreaded tomato: tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, whole peeled tomatoes, who knows, maybe i'll even put down a few jars of salsa this year...
but this post is dedicated to the first of the summer's canning projects: brandied cherries. i must be honest with you, these did not quite turn out as i'd hoped. firstly, i was too lazy to pit the cherries. secondly, the heating of the fruit combined with the hot water bath made for a rather, um, soft, one might say flaccid, product. however they have tremendous potential as a brandied cherry sauce for vanilla ice cream or as a flavoring for mixed cocktails. would i make them again? hmmm, ask me in the dead of winter....
6 lbs. dark, sweet cherries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/4 cup brandy
wash and pit the cherries, set aside. bring to a boil the sugar, water and lemon juice, then add fruit and reduce to a simmer, continuing to cook until cherries are hot. remove from heat and add brandy. pack cherries into hot, sterilized jars leaving about 1/2" headspace. ladle hot syrup to fill jars up to about 1/4" of the rim. remove airbubble (i do this by tapping the jar on the counter), clean rim, seal and process in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes. this should make about 6 pints.