Earlier this summer I wrote about dealing with the cherries from my Bing Cherry tree. I made cherry preserves. I froze cherries. I ate lots and lots of cherries. And I candied cherries – 4 pounds altogether.
Update: Looking for an even easier method to make candied cherries? See my new, updated post, Easy Flavorful Candied Cherries.
When I tell that story most people respond with, “why?” quickly followed by “how do you do that!” Leave it to me to choose one of the more obscure food preserving projects.
The simple answer is, I love fruitcake. Now before you click away from this post, hold on! If you’ve never had homemade fruitcake you don’t really know what fruitcake is. What it isn’t – that heavy, brick-like stuff you can find in every grocery store around the holidays. Homemade fruitcake is a real treat. Just think about it, a combination of tart and sweet dried fruits, lots of your favorite nuts like pecans and hazelnuts, all soaked in brandy or rum. Sounds good! Little known fact here in the U.S. – Prince William and his bride Kate chose a fruitcake wedding cake. But I digress.
The only candied fruit I use when making fruitcake is candied cherries. But I don’t like that neon scarlet color and the artificial flavorings added to the commercially prepared kind. So this year I made my own, and you can too. It’s a pretty easy process, but does take a while to complete. I used the basic recipe found on the Ochef site, only I doubled the recipe and made 2 pounds at a time.
The process does get a bit messy, so make sure you use a large pot to heat the syrup and a large bowl to soak the fruit.
By the time the fruit is ready to soak in the syrup for the recommended 10+ days, the syrup will become crusty with the sugar and almost solid. Cover and let it sit. I did have to reheat the whole combination before I could remove the cherries for their final drying. Set the left over syrup aside to use for other projects (check back for some my recipes coming soon!).
There, now you have real candied cherries, without all the artificial additives, ready for this winter’s fruitcake or other baked goods. What do you do with candied cherries?