Fire up the canner and put away several jars of these delightful Cherries in Spiced Port Wine. Without a doubt, these cherries are a perfect topping for a summer-time bowl of Vanilla Ice Cream, but I've already started dreaming about opening a jar during the cooler month of November and letting the warming spices elevate a humble Charcuterie board, a lovely Manhattan or a pork roast.
Have you been taking advantage of all of summer's fresh bounty? About this time of the year, I start to get panicky that summer is waning and I haven't eaten enough peaches, blueberries, cherries, fill in the blank.
That panic inevitably takes me to the farmer's market to pick up
some pounds of fresh fruit; which is then consumed rather quickly by the fruit-eating hordes that populate my home. I always manage to tuck away a portion of the fresh bounty so that I can preserve it for future use…and also because I do love to can and experiment with flavors.
It was recently cherry's turn to be transformed into some magical treat through the alchemy of spices and heat…the result is a decadent Cherries in Spiced Port Wine. The initial thought for this treat was the result of some spiced cherries that were served alongside a charcuterie plate that Terry and I enjoyed at a local restaurant.
Of course, as I am wont to do, I went home thinking…'Hey, I bet I could make that' and began noodling the spices and flavors that I thought might get me close to what I wanted.
Port Wine is the vehicle for carrying the warm spices of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, but also adds some depth to the canned cherries without battling the fruit.
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The most time-consuming task in making Cherries in Spiced Port Wine will be pitting the cherries, a job that I found that my son used to really enjoy. But I will caution, cherry juice tends to fly really well and land in spots you would never have thought it would. So…wear an apron and do it in a space that has easily wiped down surfaces.
I have been using this OXO Cherry Pitter for years and am very happy with it.
Before we dive into the Cherries in Spiced Port Wine recipe, let me give a little disclaimer here. I will experiment with just about ANYTHING, except when I am canning. There is a part of me that thinks that the USDA might be a tad overboard on putting the fear of God into everyone when it comes to canning, but botulism is a real thing and I’m not one to tempt it.
So, when I ‘invent’ a canning recipe, I usually rely pretty heavily on tried and true sources, only altering those things that don’t affect Ph which is especially important when water bath canning.
That Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is my bible. Even if I think I could make the recipe in my sleep, I double check myself against the Ball Book…that whole botulism thing again.
Canned Cherries in Spiced Port Wine make a delicious topping for ice cream, cake, on a cheese board, in your favorite Manhattan cocktail or with your favorite meat.
Combine port wine, cinnamon, cardamom pods and whole cloves in saucepan and simmer until reduced by half.
While port wine is reducing, wash the cherries in vinegar water and pit.
Add sugar and stir to combine
Prepare canner, jars and lids. See The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for guidance. Lay out a clean towel, along with a small bowl of white vinegar (to wipe off rims) and your canning supplies on a clean counter.
Strain spices from port wine
Ladle 1/2 cup of hot port wine syrup into each hot jar.
Gently shake jar to pack cherries closely, without crushing them.
Add hot syrup to cover cherries, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Add 1 TBSP port wine to each jar
Wipe rim with white vinegar
Remove any air bubbles and adjust headspace.
Center lid on jar and screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Or, if using Weck Jar, place rubber gasket, glass lid and metal clips on the jar.
Boil for pints and quarts for full 25 minutes, or adjust for altitude via Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. The time to bring your pot to a boil should not be counted in the minute boil time.
Remove lid, wait 5 minutes and remove from canner
So, once again, let's revisit how you could use your delightful Cherries in Spice Port Wine. You could:
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