They were so beautiful, with their ruby spheres hanging in cascading scarlet amongst the green leaves. Perched precariously on the edge of a very steep bank, where the wrong step would send you through bushes and onto the unfriendly rocks below, some of the clan determinedly picked wild cherries. We didn’t get too many, since we valued out necks, but we got enough for some preserves.
I’ve made a bit of jam, some jelly, but never preserves. In fact, I didn’t really know what classified a preserve as a preserve. Now I do. Preserves are fruit that has been cooked in an equal or ¾ as much sugar as fruit and cooked until the syrup is thick and the fruit transparent and plump. At least that is the gist of what an old Kerr canning book said.
Mummy wanted to try putting up some fruit jams and such without pectin. I used a recipe from Prudence Penny for Cherry Preserves, but rather than sugar I used honey, and only half the amount as specified for sugar. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but I cooked it until it seemed right and then canned it.
Today Mummy and I tasted a small amount that didn’t fit neatly into a jar and it was so good! She’s all for going back and trying to wrestle some more cherries off that tree.
I am too! I just hope Twiglet (an affectionate childhood name for my little sister) will help me pit them again. We have a really neat cherry pitter, but last time I tried it with small cherries it was a dead loss. So we pitted them all by hand with hair pins. Okay, it worked.
One thing I am very grateful for is the beautiful red color of the preserves. That is something to be grateful for after making strawberry jam that had a very blah color. I even added red coloring to the second batch, but I didn't add enough. I'm very happy with my naturally red colored cherry preserves.