Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Summer Treat: Preserve Cherries a 19th Century Way

Northstar Pie Cherries

An Old Recipe for Cherry Preserves:

From Miss Leslie's Directions for Cookery by Eliza Leslie (Philadelphia, 1851 ed.)

The Cherries
Instead of Morella(o) cherries, I am using a cherry grown on the premises of the historic c.1801 Riversdale House Museum in Riverdale Park, MD. These cherries are called Northstar Pie Cherries and are a tart cherry known for being heavy producers and are quite disease resistant. These cherries were introduced in 1950 and are therefore not quite as historic as the home on the grounds on which they were grown. However, these cherries are sour enough to be a good substitute for morello cherries and are a good choice for this 19th century recipe by Eliza Leslie.

Modern Recipe Adaptation

1.  Wash and weigh your cherries.  Then, measure out one pound of sugar per pound of cherries. Divide the sugar into two equal measures and set aside.

2.  Pit the cherries and place in a bowl. Then add one portion of the sugar. Mix together and let sit for about one hour until the cherries soften and release lots of their juice.

Allow the cherries to macerate in the sugar for about one hour.

Macerated Cherries

3.  Place the remaining sugar and the cherries into a large preserving pan or pot with a heavy bottom (to prevent burning and sticking).  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium high, stirring frequently.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the cherries are glossy. You can use the cherries as soon as they cool, or you can preserve them in a hot water bath canner, or freeze them.

Cooked Cherries

Delicious on ice cream, sponge cake, in a trifle, or on yogurt!

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