This post is a bit overdue, because, well, cherries are pretty much out of season now. But, better late than never! I found some Balaton cherries at the market. They have a beautiful color and an assertive, full, tart flavor.
I ate a few of the cherries straight, and made jam with some, and made syrup with the rest. Very yummy! And, these types of small batch jam and syrup methods may be used with all kinds of fruits.
Small Batch Tart Cherry-Lime Jam
2 cups pitted cherries
½ cup sugar
½ lime, zested and juiced
Put all ingredients in a medium pot, and heat over medium-high. Cook until sugar has dissolved, and cherries start to break apart. Place cherry mixture in a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour puree back into saucepan, and continue to cook until jam is thick and mounds up on a spoon.
While the jam is cooking, prepare (get out and make sure they are squeaky clean) the jars you’ll use to store and/or give away the preserves. Transfer cooked jam to the clean ready jars. I don’t actually go through the canning process (especially for this small of an amount of jam), but if you would like to do so, please follow the instructions from the USDA’s National Center for Home Food Preservation or the official site from the makers of Ball jars.
Spread the jam on breakfast toast, or use it in a cherry dressing for salad.
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Tart Cherry Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
zest of one lime
½ cup pitted cherries
Place sugar, water, and lime zest in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, let the sugar dissolve, and boil for one minute. Take off of the heat, and add in the cherries. Let steep for 20 minutes and strain out the solids. The syrup will keep in the fridge for a few weeks (if it lasts that long).
Mix the syrup with club soda or vodka. Or, make cherry-limeade with water, syrup, and lime juice.
And, word on the street is that you can use the pits to make Cherry Pit Liqueur. Sounds amazing.