My best friend and I wanted to can as many fruit as we could this year and so far we’ve tackled strawberries, and now, cherries. We planned a whole slew of recipes for the pounds of cherries that we picked including sour and sweet cherry jam, sour cherry jelly, rosemary pickled cherries, bourbon soaked cherries and finally – these tart cherry coffee preserves. 7 hours of pitting and canning later…we had ourselves a whole stack of freshly canned cherries!
Sampling all the different cherry products we made was very interesting, and determining which ones worked better with sweet versus sour cherries. I preferred the jams and preserves we made using the sour ones. They balanced out the sugar better and gave the flavour more dimension compared to the one note sweetness from the sweet cherries.
This preserve recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Canning Late Summer 2015 edition magazine. The one small change I made was to double the amount of coffee beans, as the coffee flavour compliments the cherries so nicely I wanted to highlight the bitter flavour a bit more. The coffee beans also helped to bring out the tartness of the cherries, making for a lovely, syrupy-but-not-too-sweet preserves.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with these delicious preserves at first, but inspired by the usual pairing of bread, cheese and jam on a charcuterie board, I decided to make some crostini. I wanted to keep the crostini light and simple, so I picked up a baguette and some goat cheese from my local bakery. The crunchy baguette and creamy goat cheese held up nicely with the rich cherry preserves, making for a delightful summer appetizer, or a festive party dish come the holiday season!
Calories per serving: 67 calories per tablespoon of cherry preserves
Preserves should be made a day in advance so that they have time to cool.
For the cherry preserves
1/2 cup unsweetened cherry juice (you will have enough juice after pitting your cherries)
1/2 cup strong whole coffee beans
6 1/4 cup sugar
5 cups fresh, pitted sour cherries, quartered
1 6-oz package (2 foil packages) liquid fruit pectin
For the crostini
1 fresh baguette
76 grams goat cheese
olive oil - for brushing
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cherry preserves
In a small saucepan bring cherry juice to boiling. Add coffee beans. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand for 30 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving juice. Discard coffee beans.
In a 6 to 8 quart heavy pot combine the reserved cherry juice, the sugar and cherries. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in pectin. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.
Ladle hot preserves into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rim, place lids on jars and screw on bands until they are just tightened.
Process jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.
For the crostini:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice baguette diagonally into half inch slices and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange baguette slices on a large rimmed baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes, flip crostini and bake 8 minutes more.
Let cool before topping with goat cheese and a spoonful of cherry preserves.
Serve with some Campari for a truly delicious starter.
Growing up, my mother would make us go fruit picking every summer. Looking back, I never fully appreciated how lucky I was to be able pick fresh fruit. Many years later, I moved downtown and was living closer to my best friend. We started crafting and attempting various do-it-yourself projects and eventually this led to home preserving. This year we wanted to hit up as many seasonal fruit as possible and the first one up was strawberries. So one sunny Sunday morning in June we decided to drive to Grimsby where we picked up a flat of juicy, ruby red berries.
Since we were new to canning, we decided to use tried and true recipes first before we start experimenting. To preserve jam, there is a science to balancing the acidity in order to prevent spoilage and to ensure your jam sets properly. For this reason we used the Bernardin strawberry jam recipe. This jam uses liquid pectin, and I’ve found the best jams we’ve made so far were with liquid pectin. Straightforward and easy to work with, this type of pectin seems to set the best as well.
The result is the most definitive strawberry jam. Sweet, exploding full of flavour and by no means healthy, it is decadent and heavenly. I was going to give these jams away as Christmas gifts…but I think I’m going to save them all for myself! Next year we will have to make a double batch for sure!