My husband Joe loves fruit but his favorites are cherries. The large crisp sweet ones from the State of Washington. Once they start to hit the markets he is looking for the best no matter how much they cost.
What I taught him to do years ago is preserve them in Brandy. So now it is his preserving job if he wants them.
Last year he opted not to make them but decided this year he would again. It is kind of addictive once you start because they are so darn pretty when you finish.
Not to mention they taste pretty good too
I am sure there will be those out there dropping into a dead faint over this method because like any fermented process you do not pressure can or water bath them.
Place your caps in a pan of boiling water and let them sit there until ready to use.
You start with hot sterilized jars and (cold) pack the washed and stemmed fruit into the jars (we just cut the end of the stem off leaving about 1/2 to 3/4 inch attached to the cherry) . They need to be tight in the jar but not smashed. Leave 1/2 inch of head space.
You will be using a mixture of 60 proof apricot brandy and 80 proof vodka … you do not need the best vodka you are just trying to raise the alcohol level in the mix. Then sugar (to taste) which is totally optional.
The ratio is 5 parts brandy to 1 part vodka. How much of this mix you makes depends on how many jars and what size jars you are using to preserve your cherries. We normally use pint jars. I prefer the small mouth jars because the little narrowing of the neck holds the cherries down a bit.
This mixture is purely choice … you can use all brandy with no vodka, no flavor brandy or cherry brandy. Less sweet no sugar … sweeter then add a bit of sugar. Remember you will be using or drinking the liquid mix so if it tastes good so will your cherries.
Mix all of the liquids and sugar (if using) together in a large pitcher making sure the sugar is dissolved if you are using it.
Pour this mix over the cherries in the jars to just cover them (leave 1/2 inch of head space) … place on your hot caps, add your bands and screw them on tight.
Place in a dark cool place and allow them to sit for at least a month to cure. Joe is always anxious to see how they taste so the 1st jar sometimes does not make the first month.
They will last forever as long as the liquid remains covering them. It is up to you to refrigerate them after opening … Joe does not unless it is summer time. The alcohol preserves them and we have never had them mold or spoil.