There are what I call “Refrigerator Cherries”. What happens is this, every year when the cherries show up at the farmer’s markets and grocery stores, I start buying them. Pounds at a time. ‘Cause I know they aren’t going to be around very long so I need to have as many as I can. I’m sure that I’ll want another bag full and they’ll be gone. Until NEXT YEAR……..uggggh. So when I saw this method of extending their sweet little lives a bit longer, I knew I had to try it.
It’s incredibly easy. Stem and pit the cherries (those cherry pitter gadgets are so worth the dollars), and pop them into canning jars or any tightly sealed jar you have. Sprinkle the lemon zest between your jars, this made 3 pint jars for me. In a saucepan, mix the water, sugar and amaretto liquor and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and ladle it over the cherries in the jars. You need to just cover them. Tighten your lids down, but not completely and let cool until you can hold a jar and it just feels comfortably warm in your hand. Tighten the lid again, and put them in the refrigerator. They’ll stay for 2 to 3 months, if they last that long!
The amaretto and sugar are sweet, but it doesn’t overpower the fresh taste of the cherry. The cherries don’t dissolve or get mushy either, they still have a bite to them. Keep a spoon nearby because you’re going to be dipping into these as often as you open the fridge door. I’m going to hide one of my jars behind the others in there in the hopes that I’ll have it a bit longer. Oh, and please don’t throw away any juice that’s left. Reduce it down to a syrupy consistancy and drizzle over ice cream, angel food cake, yogurt, you get the drift. Every drop is good. And the cherry season? It lasts just a little longer.
1-1/2 lbs. of cherries
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of amaretto liquor
1 tsp. of lemon zest