Monday, July 30, 2012

Make Your Own Cherry Molasses

   We're having a pretty amazing cherry season here in Sonoma.  Cherries are plentiful and right now pretty cheap. Last summer two storms ruined the cherry crop, the fruit rotted on the trees and prices soared. This year if you are a cherry lover, you're in luck. Taking advantage of this cherry boon, I decided to spring for a tool that I always thought I didn't need, a cherry pitter. Boy was I wrong. I usually have to learn my lesson that way. I like to cook old school and I have to be convinced of the usefulness of modern conveniences. If God meant us to have cherry pitters, then why did he give us fingers... and paring knives? Several boxes of band aids and scars later, (I was never gonna be a hand model anyway) I finally gave in an bought an OXO Cherry Pitter at The Sign of The Bear our local kitchen and cooking store.

   Right around the time I bought my own pitter, the people at  OXO sent me another  pitter, which I'm offering as a giveaway.  Once I'd made my first batch of 5 Minute Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream  this little tool became my new best friend. I bought more cherries and then tried to figure out what to do with them that would be new, different for me, and involved pitting. Finally, I came up with something. I'd make Cherry Molasses.

  A couple of years ago I started making my own pomegranate molasses, and I've been making simple syrups this Summer, so it seemed an obvious connection. In fact, making cherry molasses is basically the same traditional recipe used in making any fruit syrup. Cherry molasses is also pretty easy to make as long as you can get rid of the pits easily. In fact you can have a bottle of cherry molasses sitting on your shelf in less than an hour, it's that fast. It was so easy in fact that I am entering it in the OXO Cherry Recipe Contest. Find out more about the contest Here

Cherry Molasses

Here's What You Need:

4 cups of washed,pitted, fresh cherries
1 cup of water
3/4 cup of sugar
1 lemon

Here's What To Do:

Rinse and pit the cherries.
Cut the pitted cherries in half.

Put the pitted halved cherries in a pot along with 1 cup of water.
Bring everything to a boil.

When the cherries are boiling, add in the juice of 1 lemon.
Mash down the cherries to a pulp.

Cook the cherries down on a medium bubbling heat until they've turned into a mushy mass.

There's Alan mirrored in my ladle, taking a picture.
Pour the mushy boiling cherry mixture carefully through a strainer into a bowl.

Press down and allow the liquid part of the cooked cherries to pass through the strainer.
Pour the strained cherry mixture back into the pot and add 3/4 cup of sugar.
Bring things to a boil again.
Boil the sweetened cherries for about 1 minute. The thickened cherry mixture should start to coat the spoon. When that happens, you've got molasses baby.
Take it off the heat and let it cool a bit then pour it into a sterilized bottle.

If you're planning on keeping this for a while, pour it into a sealed sterilized canning jar and  process it as you would any jam or jelly, otherwise store it in the fridge. The next task its to figure out how best to use this cherry molasses. Of course it can be an ice cream topping, pancake syrup or ingredient  in a marinade. I'm thinking however of whipping up a bit of barbecue sauce with it.

    If you'd like to do a little pitting of your own, I'm giving away a cherry pitter to someone who'd like to do some pitting and lives in the USA (for shipping purposes). PS: This pitter works excellently on olives too. Remember tapanade season is coming. Just leave a comment  and let me know what you'd make with your very own pitter. I'll be choosing a winner via on Aug 1st.

   Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


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