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.
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.
|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?
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 ....