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Jun 19, 2010 01:32 PM

preserving sour cherries in bourbon- begging urgent advice

Dear Hounders,
I just picked up some sour cherries, the last of the season I am told, from my local farmer's market. They need to be dealt with because I don't want them sitting out for too long... some are a bit soft. I want to preserve some in Bourbon. I have gone through the various past threads and am having trouble finding details. I want these to keep for a while... should I sugar them first? If so what part cherry to sugar to bourbon. Should I cook them first? in a simple syrup?

Or can I just wash them, pit them, and plop them in a jar with bourbon to cover?

What about Luxano Marachino? If I use Luxano do I also add sugar?

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated,

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  1. I did Oxheart cherries in port this year. Oxhearts are sweet like Bings. I didn't measure because the "recipe" I followed didn't give measurements. It said to put a layer of pitted cherries in a jar, generously sprinkle them with sugar, and repeat until the jar is full. Then pour in the alcohol of choice to fill the jar and cover the cherries. Cap and shake. Shake the jar whenever you think about it to mix the sugar, cherry juice and alcohol. Allow to age for several months. Maybe since you are using tart cherries you might want to be a little more generously generous with the sugar.

    I've never tasted Luxano, but I also made Maraschino cherries with Queen Anne cherries (more tart than Oxhearts, way less sour than pie cherries). I found several Maraschino recipes that called for both Luxano and sugar. The recipe I used didn't call for Luxano. (The nearest liquor store to me is 45 minutes away and I was betting they didn't have Luxano!). If the stuff is sweet on it's own you probably wouldn't have to add a lot of extra sugar.

    1. No need to cook, no simple syrup, you don't even need to pit them if you don't want to! Just layer cherries and sugar, then cover with bourbon. Jim beam is fine, nothing fancy. Shake every once in a while, and let sit at least a month.

      9 Replies
      1. re: callmijane

        Does anyone know how long they will keep? I did them in the summer and they got pushed to the back of my fridge and I forgot about them. I would hate to waste the cherries and all that Bourbon.

        1. re: Kooper

          They are most likely preserved indefinitely. I once had a bottle of cherries preserved in brandy, from Italy, for 5 years. Just as good on day 1,820 as they were on day 1. Break them out for the holidays.

          1. re: Kooper

            Indefinitely sounds about right. I had some in the fridge, got called out of town for more than a year, and I'm still continuing to work my way through them.

            1. re: Kooper

              If the fruit is too far gone in appearance just strain it. I made the base for sangria out of stone and citrus fruits, brandy and sugar and left it in the frig for months. It didn't look all that great because the fruit disintegrated but I strained it and put new fruit in and it was the most delicious that I ever made.

              1. re: wekick

                Great idea to strain out the old fruit (which can get pale looking and not that appetizing) once it has given up all its flavor to the liquid and then replace with new fruit.

                That way you get the benefit of both -- the flavor and the nice appearance.

                1. re: karykat

                  I have some regular cherries in the back of the fridge that are at least two years I know what to have for cocktail hour tonight! Cherry cordial sounds festive enough. I don't even remember for sure what the liquor is, maybe Kirschwasser?

                  1. re: coll

                    If it wasn't Kirshwasser, it is now.

                    1. re: wekick

                      Ultra-Kirschwasser! Maybe it has extra antioxident properties.

                2. re: wekick

                  great idea with the sangria suggestion. I will also use this idea with my canned peaches which always have a ton of leftover juice and would be a great addition. I also sometimes freeze it and add it to some sort of smoothie / frozen margarita....

              1. Eat the cherries. Then drink the bourbon. That should work :)

                Seriously, I"m glad you asked this, because I saw some lovely sour cherries at the market and may pick some up next time. I'll be doing the same thing!