31 May 2011

it's been a good year for the cherries

bourbon cherries2
Yummy Bourbon Cherries

Richard went out Saturday morning with instructions to bring back the smallest of the Quattro Stagioni jars and some cherries. I love that that man is willing to do these things for me. Since I was unable to find the tiny jars in the local supermarkets, he went straight to the nearest hardware store. Don't let the small size of family run hardware stores in Italy fool you, as they have everything -- much of it not on display but stored smartly in the back. Don't see what you are looking for? Ask. This ain't no Target. Self-service is not the expected norm.

cherry variety

He went to the neighboring town of Castegnero for cherries. Here, too, he did very well by asking for cherries for jam. Can you make out the difference in the photo? The ones on the left are nearly the size of small plumbs & are oh-so-good, but likely not best for preserving. The ones on the right are significantly smaller & not quite as delectable eaten raw, but still good. (These are, however, the same ones I've seen in local produce sections.) The farmer practically gave those away, 5 Euro for 5+ kilos. The others are currently selling for 5 Euro per kilo at this farm. Cheap, IMHO, all things considered ... fresh, local, in season.

bourbon cherries
The recipe calls for cheap whiskey; I used what we had in the cantina = not cheap. I gave up cheap whiskey long ago.

I made two batches of jam and still had tons of cherries remaining. Richard made a cherry pie. Still, tons. Enter my A-ha moment -- cherries soaked in bourbon, and I easily found this simple recipe: Prairie Girl's Whiskey Cherries. By Christmastime these should be perfectly soaked & will make great gifts for friends. After all, who doesn't want a Maker's Mark soaked cherry to liven up their holiday cocktail? Sure sounds better than this alternative. When I emptied the bottle of Maker's Mark, I used Gran Marinier. I stopped when I ran out of jars, but, you guessed it, I STILL have enough cherries for more creations. Any ideas?

cherry jam
Cherry Jam

I'm feeling quite proud of my homesteading ways this weekend. We'll share the jam with those continually generous neighbors of ours ... just hope it's not too sweet for their palates. Now I'm off to pit the rest of those cherries, this time with gloves.


And just after I was done editing this post yesterday (yep, I do them in advance, often), we had another cherry breakthrough, this time with a usually reserved neighbor we don't know well. When the cherries are doing so well, there are lots to share! Stay tuned .... 


  1. My mom use to pit and freeze cherries, then in the fall/winter she would make pie or cherry crisp with what she saved.

  2. Oh your pictures truly make the jam looks delicious! You should be proud~ I am sure it was alot of work!

  3. Those tiny jars are the best! I only wish I'd brought home more...there's lots of potential use in our playroom.

  4. Thanks Michelle and Diana. And, Dana, I've had a difficult time finding the smallest ones at this time of the year. They are indeed handy. AGreed.

  5. Yum... these cherries look so good. And they are so pretty! Love the tiny jars. Gorgeous photos! :)

  6. Oh I do love to eat raw cherries, and cherry season is JUST AROUND THE CORNER over here on the "not so frozen any more" tundra of Wisconsin!

    Love those baby jars AND the yummy cherries!

  7. How do you pit them, with the little hand press thing?

  8. I just want to jump on a plane & head straight to Italy just to try your jam! You've truly captured the beauty of these jarred cherries! So simple yet so stunning at the same time :)

  9. Love these photos and the contents of the jars sound Delicious!

  10. These look delicious! I love cherries! Enjoy, enjoy!

  11. Oh man!! I LOVE cherries, but they are so expensive here! I wish you could share some of the cherry abundance with me :)

    The jam looks great, especially stored in those adorable containers!

  12. Love the Maker's Mark cherries. What a great idea. Festive and tasty and perfect for a season when people feel like indulging. What about cherry compote? Have to admit I'm not exactly sure what compote is - think it is like applesauce. The English here talk about compote and my friend with a cherry tree talked about making some with her over abundance of cherries. Just a thought.

    Can't believe I was so close to you!! Shoulda emailed before we headed off to Venice. xo