This is the king of the sweets of the spoon. Sour cherries ripen in the middle of summer, in July, and you can find them only for a very short time. So you really have to be on the lookout for them, or ask your greengrocer to let you know when he will have them, as they don’t have a long shelf life. Sour cherries are exactly that – sour, and you can’t eat them raw! But with the sugar they become heavenly. If you use more sugar, you will have a beautiful syrup, which you can keep in a bottle. You can drizzle this syrup over ice-cream, together with a few sour cherries. If you put a few tablespoonfuls of syrup in a glass which you will then fill up with ice cold water, you will have a fantastic cold drink! You can enjoy a couple of teaspoonfuls of the sour cherries whenever you feel like eating something sweet. You can also use the fruit in cakes and cupcakes (see recipe for Christmas Cake).
Ingredients 1 ½ kilos sour cherries (weighed after the stones and the stems have been removed) 2 ½ kilos sugar 1 ½ cups water 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Wash the sour cherries and remove the stems. Carefully remove the stones with the special tool. One word of advice: wear something old, or as few clothes as possible, because some juice will splatter all over you, and the stain comes out only with bleach!
De-stone the sour cherries over a large bottomed pot, letting the juice run in the pot. Place the de-stoned sour cherries in a single layer in the pot. Put on top of them some sugar to cover them. Continue de-stoning and layering the sour cherries with the sugar, finishing with a layer of sugar. Cover the pot and leave them for 3 – 4 hours.
At the end of that time, turn the fire to high, add the water and let them boil. Remove the scum from the top with a spoon now and then. Let them boil for about twenty minutes. See that there is enough liquid, so that the sour cherries don’t burn. Add the lemon juice and let them boil for another 2 – 3 minutes. The syrup must have thickened enough, but not too much. It will thicken much more once it is cold.
When you drop a little syrup on a plate, you will see that it will thicken somewhat. Remove the pot from the fire and let it cool. Fill the prepared jars with fruit and some syrup. The top of the cherries must be completely covered. You should have quite a lot of syrup left over. Pour it into a bottle and keep it in the fridge for future use.