- Date: Sunday, July 11, 2010 -- 3pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our New House!
- Dining Companions: Matty, Mel, Daniel, Rachel, Eric, Karen H, and Dave
- Recipe Rating: B+
The Book has quite a number of sour cherry recipes in it, and finding sour cherries has always been a problem. To this day I have never seen them in a grocery store. When I lived in Boston I couldn't find them at farmer's markets either. One summer my special gentleman and I found a farm where we could pick our own sour cherries. It was great fun, but the next year when we hoped to go back and pick more they told us it would be another two years before they had sour cherries again. I had in the back of my head that I was going to need to find sour cherries eventually in order to make this recipe. So I was delighted -- absolutely delighted -- when we stumbled upon sour cherries at our local farmer's market in Michigan. Indeed Michigan is a cherry state, and a number of vendors had sour cherries that Saturday morning. Yay!
To make these preserves I first pitted four pounds of cherries. That was neither quick nor particularly fun, and there are still places in my kitchen where you can see cherry juice stains if you look closely. I tossed the cherries with sugar and lemon juice. I had reserved some of the cherry pits and they needed to be cracked open to remove the inner white kernel. Again, not super fun. Once I had the kernels I tied them up in cheesecloth and put the bag of them into the cherry mixture. I refrigerated it overnight. I sterilized some canning jars in a boiling water canner. Then I dumped the cherry mixture into a pot and cooked it for a while. Eventually I removed the cherries themselves and cooked the liquid some more. I added pectin to the liquid. I divided the cherries and juice between the jars, then sealed them and processes them in the boiling water canner. These preserves had a very nice flavor. They were neither too sweet nor too tart. We have eaten them on pancakes and biscuits and the preserves were delightful both ways. They didn't set up as much as I would have liked, but I think this was not the fault of the recipe. The recipe called for lower-sugar pectin, which I couldn't find locally. I didn't have time to order it since I already had my cherries, so I used what I had on hand, which was a combination of regular pectin and no sugar pectin. I figured it would work out to be approximately right, but I fear that my ratio wasn't ideal. So the preserves were a little runny, but still tasty!
The recipe is here.
It's 10:45 on a Wednesday evening and I just got off the phone with our car insurance company. My special gentleman is vacuuming. Usually by this time in the evening we are relaxing -- reading, watching something on DVD, or just hanging out. These last few days, though, we have been trying to cram as much in as possible during our waking hours. Things have been a bit hectic. It seems like every email I have written lately has started, "I'm sorry to take so long to get back to you." I'm just very behind. Or at least I feel that way. In reality I think I just have a super-ambitious list of chores/work/projects I would like to get done before the semester starts, and while I check things off my list every day, I also add twice as many things each day as I checked off. But things are getting done. Now we have Michigan car insurance. And clean floors.
Yesterday I went to Ann Arbor to see my new tumor doctor. It's only about an hour from our house to Ann Arbor, and the doctors at the University of Michigan are the best in the area, so I figured it was worth it. My new doctor seems great -- maybe my favorite one yet. I went in with a long list of questions and I got them all answered. After the usual battery of blood tests and whatnot following my appointment, I met up with my special gentleman and our friend PJ for some lunch. It seems that Ann Arbor has more of a foodie culture than East Lansing, and one way in which this manifests itself is that there are more grocery shopping options there. In particular, there is a very nice fish market. I had a cooler in the car so I could take advantage of what Ann Arbor had to offer. I left with some soft-shelled crabs, littleneck clams, and an octopus! We ate the crabs and clams last night. The octopus is in the freezer for another day. It's comforting to know that there is seafood available only an hour away!
I should go to sleep, so I am ready to tackle my to-do list once again in the morning!