06 July, 2010

Cross Country Preserving

It was supposed to be a vacation. Hubby and I travelled, sans kids, to Ontario this past weekend. We attended the wedding of a very special friend in a ridiculously gorgeous location. The weekend also afforded us the time to take leisurely drives, naps, and meals.

I promised myself that I wouldn't worry about capturing every little food related tidbit along the way. A difficult thing when you spend 3 days in the Niagara Greenbelt. So, my camera hardly came out of the bag, I didn't take a single note, and I even left both my laptop and crackberry at home. This girl needed a vacation from it all - kids, the full time job, the part time job, cooking, cleaning, and simply doing for everyone else but me.

So I read a novel, I ate more than I should have, I slept at many points in the day, I cuddled with my Hubby, and even took a spontaneous helicopter ride over Niagara Falls. It is, however, impossible for me to resist a farm stand. Especially a farm stand that declares the sale of sour cherries.

Remember, it was only last year that I discovered the truth about sour cherries. And I only found them that one time. I promised myself that if I ever discovered them again I would buy in bulk and preserve the bounty.

So I made Hubby reverse the rental car in someone's driveway and pull out his cash. After our day trip the cherries were carefully stored in the hotel mini bar. Then packed in a plastic bin, surrounded by gifted books and craft paper. The bin was taped up and made the journey back West in the cargo hold of the Airbus 320.

When we finally arrived home last night I pulled them out and despite my desire to sleep I spent an hour and a half pitting cherries. But when I make that first cherry pie the effort will be worth it. Sadly, the journey resulted in more than a few casualties. But I still got 11 cups of cherries, enough for 2 quart jars and 2 250 mL jars. I figure that is at least 3 whole pies or more than a small army's supply of cherry hand pies.

Cherry Pie Filling
Makes 1 quart

4-5 cups pitted sour cherries
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsps cornstarch

1. Clean and sterilize jar and lid - if you intend to can and not use right away. Keep hot
2. Bring water and sugar to a boil.  Add cherries all at once and let cook for 5 minutes.
3. Combine cornstarch and a few tablespoons of the liquid from cooking cherries. Stir until smooth. Add to cherries and return to the boil. Let boil 30 seconds.
4. Immediately pour into the hot jar. Seal with clean and sterilized lid. 
5. Process for 30 minutes in a boiling water canner.

* Scale up this recipe depending on your total amount of sour pitted cherries.  


Lee said...

looking good! my friend makes me a pie each year from her neighbours'sour cherry tree, right here in Calgary! delicious.

Kevin Kossowan said...

Ah. A holiday without the kids. Sigh.

Charmian @Christie's Corner said...

The Niagara region is gorgeous. Glad you managed to have a wonderful, relaxing time.

Hope you think of your trip every time you break open another jar of sour cherry preserves.

Claire said...

too funny! now that's a sign of a preserving junkie. and I totally understand.

Julie said...

What a great place for a wedding. Lovely cherries! I'm a huge fan of them too.

Robin (Hippo Flambe) said...

I love sour cherries as well, this is the first year I was finally able to get my hands on them. Now that i have tried them when the single day for local pick your own is announced I will even change plans to get them.

The sour cherry pie filling looks wonderful, however best canning practice says not to use cornstarch. Cornstarch thickens while it is still hot which means it can prevent the correct heat penetration, plus long heating can cause it to break down and get watery.

It is more a spoilage and satisfactory result risk from what i can find out then a botulism risk. You can use a product called Clear Jel, or just add the corn starch when you pour the filling into the pie crust.