Success? Boiling Water Bath Preserved Brandied Cherries

Friday, August 22, 2014

Brandied Cherries

This recipe from PlanToCan for sweet cherries in red wine is the closest to the recipe I followed that I could find, but I used brandy instead of wine, no oranges, a split and scraped vanilla bean, and considerably fewer cherries (adjusting proportions as necessary).

A mistake I seem to be making over and over, I made once again. Don't be afraid to really pack the produce in there for raw processing. The hot syrup/brine + bath processing has a tendency to really help the produce shrink. If you don't jam them in there, you run out of syrup fast and end up with half-filled jars. So, pack them tightly. Tighter than you feel comfortable with.

Also, when I took the first few jars out of the water bath, the syrup inside the jar boiled up so fast and spattered everywhere. I've now also learned to let these jars cool a bit in the hot water before removing them to cool. Remove the canner from heat, and wait 5 minutes. Lesson learned.

Brandied Cherries

Success: Cherry Almond Poke Cake

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cherry Almond Poke Cake

I followed TheKitchn's Cherry Almond Poke Cake, except I held onto the solids from making the cherry syrup, removed the pits, and used the cherry guts as a topping. I also added an extra blob of confectioner's sugar to the icing to make it pop a bit more.

I'm currently doing an experiment, in which about half the cake is being frozen. The icing is basically a sour homemade whipped cream, which means it's not real sturdy. We'll see how the freezing/thawing process affects it.

Cherry Almond Poke Cake
Cherry Almond Poke Cake
Cherry Almond Poke Cake

Homemade Almond Extract and Cherry Pit Liqueur

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Homemade Almond Extract and Cherry Pit Vodka

Welp. I'm planning on giving our homemade vanilla extract a sister. A sister homemade almond extract. This is what happens when you buy 8 lbs of cherries. I've used ~2150 pits here, and that's only about half.

On the left, the cloudy liquid is homemade almond extract made from the noyeaux of ~150 cherry pits. On the right, cherry pit vodka with ~100 cherry pits. I probably used too much vodka and not enough pits/noyeaux. I'll be adding some more pits/noyeaux, when I feel like attacking them with a hammer. It is its own special mess, separate from pitting cherries

Also, I feel this is important to include here: a debate about cyanide in noyeaux. I've decided to just not care. There's too many people adopting these methods for homemade almond extract, that I've decided since I'm neither pregnant nor elderly, I can probably handle it.

Homemade Almond Extract and Cherry Pit Vodka

Success? Sweet Cherry Butter

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sweet Cherry Butter

Following the 'Food in Jars' recipe for Sweet Cherry Butter exactly, I ended up with 3x 1/2 pints, instead of 2x full pints which the recipe lead me to believe was my due given 1.4kg of cherries. But life isn't always fair, and I've got 3 half pints which is enough to be thankful for. I probably should not have cooked it down as long, but I still don't think that accounts for the full 1/2 pint under yield. If I had known, I would've thrown all my extra pitted cherries in. Lessons for the future: always put extra fruit in your fruit butter.

I had to scrape every last bit out of the pot to get these three jars full, but a thorough licking of the spatula foretells of some cherry awesomeness.

Sweet Cherry Butter

Pitting Cherries

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pitting Cherries: Cause

Despite having purchased 8lbs of cherries during Whole Foods' cherry sale earlier in July, I did not want to spend $10+ on a cherry pitter. The Internet suggested I use a large paperclip to dig the pits out, or a metal cake-icing tip. Jim suggested I pit cherries with my mouth, which is likely both the tastiest and the messiest option. I went with a metal cake-icing tip, and found that a small paring knife cut in the bottom of some of the tougher cherries helped to reduce the splatter.

However, I still ended up with cuticles stained the color of dried blood. Dried cherry blood, that is.

Pitting Cherries: Effect

Mixing Your Own Masala Chai

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Rooibos Chai Masala Ingredients (tea)

I kinda fell in love with this rooibos masala chai from Miss Tea, but it was a bit pricey and not exactly acquirable in the Pittsburgh area. So I set out to emulate the magic mix. The ingredients are a perfect composition of vanilla, shaved nutmeg, dried ginger, real cinnamon, whole cloves, crushed cardamom, and rooibos loose leaf. I basically eyeballed the proportions from the original and taste-tested/adjusted until I got it perfect. Dried ginger is pretty much the best. Always need more.

There's a few more in-depth recipes for making your own masala chai, from TheKitchn and Design*Sponge. Although, if you're really adventurous, you can attempt your own custom blends of non-masala teas. You're no longer limited by the tea selection in the store!

Home-mixed Rooibos Masala Chai
Rooibos Masala Chai Concentrate

Making Tea Concentrate
Rather than purchase chai concentrate, you can make your own fairly easily. I boil 4 cups of water, add 2 Tbsp of loose leaf tea, and then brew for 15 minutes (less if you're using black or green tea as a base). Pour through a sieve into a glass bottle and refrigerate. It should keep for up to a week. Then you're free to mix the tea concentrate into soy/almond/cow milk or water or whatever adventure you feel like trying.

Miss Tea's Roobois Masala Chai

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