|Whole Cherry Preserves|
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
|-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 pounds ripe sweet cherries such as Bing or
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 star anise
2 tablespoons honey
Note: Cherries are naturally low in pectin; in order for them to gel when
cooked with only sugar or honey, they must be simmered long and slow over
very low heat. But it's an exquisite recipe, worthy of your time and
money. During cooking, the cherries become profoundly sweet and chewy,
and every spoonful tastes like fruit and sun reduced to a single flavor.
Discard any blemished cherries. Remove and discard the stems from the
cherries. Remove the pits. With some varieties, this can be done by
simply squeezing the fruit until the pit pops out, leaving the cherry
whole. However, other varieties have more tenacious pits and require the
use of a cherry pitter. Another method is to slit the cherry open with a
knife and pick out the pit. Set the pitted cherries aside.
Put the sugar and water in a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. Let
stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, 5 or 10 minutes.
Add the star anise and simmer over low heat, stirring from time to time,
for 15 minutes. Remove the star anise and stir in the pitted cherries and
the honey. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Then again reduce the
heat to low and simmer for about 1 3/4 hours, increasing the heat to
medium-low after about 1 1/2 hours. Be careful the preserves do not
Meanwhile, wash 8 half-pint or 4 pint jars. Keep hot until needed.
Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.
After the first 45 minutes of cooking the preserves, begin to test for the
gel point with your thermometer. Take off the heat when the thermometer
reads 220 degrees at sea level to 1,000 feet (218 degrees at 1,000 feet;
216 degrees at 2,000 feet; 214 degrees at 3,000 feet; 212 degrees at 4,000
feet; 211 degrees at 5,000 feet; 209 degrees at 6,000 feet; 207 degrees at
7,000 feet; 205 degrees at 8,000 feet).
Ladle the hot preserves into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch head
space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and
close remaining jars. Process pints or half pints in a boiling-water
canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above
This recipe yields about 4 pints.
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