I am a canning convert.
And if you are also a canning convert I certainly recommend rushing out to buy the rest of this summer's cherries and then preserving them in brandy. Need I say more? That alone would convince me.
Brandied cherries are incredibly gratifying to make. They are also simple and you do not even have to process the jars to preserve. The cherries will keep in the fridge for up to a year.
I got an early start on autumn eating already a month ago when Munich's weather took a turn from bad to worse. I rescued some chilled escarole growing on my balcony and served it with brandied cherries, toasted walnuts, and slices of hot duck breast. This was before I went to tropical Canada. Now it appears that I brought the tropical temperatures back to Munich. However, these cherries go just as well with late summer as they do with autumn. Warm them slightly and eat them with vanilla ice cream or mascarpone.
Or add them to a cheese plate and combine them with chevre. Or make a brandied cherry sauce for roasted poultry. They're versatile and they're worth it. Plus, you can be lazy like me and not bother with their pits and stems.
adapted from Skye Gyngell's 'My Favourite Ingredients'
yields 3 1/4 pint jars
3 cups cherries (330g / 3/4 pound)
200 ml good brandy - I used apple brandy
1/2 cup sugar
130 ml water
Wash cherries well, leaving their stems on, and then lay them to dry on a clean cloth.
Pour the brandy, water and sugar into a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat to dissolve the sugar and to warm the mixture. Stir occasionally.
Pack the cherries into three sterilized jars. Pour the warmed brandy over the cherries and make sure that the cherries are submerged. Seal the jars.
Let the jars sit in a dark place for about a week for the flavours to develop and then store the jars in the fridge for up to one year.