Last week at the Farmers Market, I saw this sign.
That sad face sums up my feelings pretty well. I have enjoyed my first cherry season in California so much. I think it’s because I wasn’t expecting to have such a selection. It completely took me by surprise.
Aside from a few cherry trees here and there in Kentucky, I’ve always associated cherries with Michigan. My past experience includes picking out a few in the grocery store and barely getting enough from a tree to make a mini cherry pie. This year, I had all the cherries I wanted. I took full advantage, too. I can’t begin to estimate how many pounds I carried home throughout the season.
But alas, it is coming to an end. I know there will be other fruits to take their place, but I will miss them all the same.
Every time I carried home by big bag of joy I said I was going to make bourbon cherries. It was now or never. Well, maybe now or next season, but the pressure motivated me to get on it.
I came across these Vanilla-Bourbon Cherries at Sweetsonian a little while back. (Aren’t her pictures gorgeous?) I wanted those same flavors so I adjusted it and then got some exact measures for the ingredients. I know I’ll want to make them again and I’m horrible at remembering what I did from recipe to recipe so I’m hoping this will help me recreate them next year.
Dark red Bing cherries make pretty soaked cherries, but as always, I was steered by the sale. These yellow-red Rainier cherries were priced to sell so my cherries look a little lighter in their bourbon bath.
I’ve had them in the fridge a little over a week and they are delicious. I’ve dropped a few in our cocktails and I hope to use them on a dessert if I can stop eating them straight from the jar.
Kentucky Bourbon-Vanilla Soaked Cherries
Inspired by Vanilla-Bourbon Cherries by Sweetsonian
1 pint cherries, pitted
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 to ½ cup Kentucky bourbon
Tightly pack the cherries into a clean pint jar leaving about ½ inch headspace.
In a small sauce pan, heat the sugar and water on medium-high. Bring it just up to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves and it thickens a little, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour the sugar syrup over the cherries. Pour the bourbon into the jar. How much you need will depend on how tightly your cherries are packed in. Ensure that all the cherries are covered, leaving about a ½ inch headspace.
Seal the jar. Give it a shake to mix the sugar syrup and bourbon.
Store in the refrigerator for at least 3 days before eating to allow the flavors to soak into the cherries. Then they should keep in the fridge for about a month.