Preserved Cherries- Small Effort, Huge WOW!

Preserving Cherries

Seems like I couldn’t get away from cherries last weekend we dined at a restaurant with a great fresh cherry cheesecake it had a chocolate almond crust Sir Wes kept saying, LORD this is good!  Then I read a blog over at A Cook Walks Into A Bar, who was making homemade Maraschino cherries!!  What???  Who knew??  Not sure why I never thought about fresh made…. just goes to show you, there is always something new to discover!

And then there were Acerola Cherries at the farmers market the next day- Awesome!  Because we were leaving for a family vacation this week, I was a bit limited on time, could not get to the liquor store for the traditional liquor needed for the maraschinos, next time!!  So I used what I had in the pantry- no need to get caught up in recipes, we just make it work!!

Acerola Cherries

  • 1 pound cherries, seeded (up to you if you want to or not, but I plan to serve them in drinks, and I don’t want to have to worry about seed spitting)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup cherry brandy
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander
  • 1 tablespoon whole black pepper
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Couple slices of orange peel
  • Couple slices of lemon peel
  • 2 stems of oregano (had some in the garden, thyme would be nice too, just to add that earthy flavor)

I put all the ingredients together in a leak proof container and turned end over end to mix everything up.  They will need about two weeks before we dive in to them, and will last 6 months.  Just be sure to stir them up every few days.  This is a GREAT treat for your cocktail parties coming thru the summer and into the fall- ummm, I can see tailgate parties with these fancy schmancy treats….Awesome!  Small effort, Huge WOW!

Preserving Cherries

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Ginger and Ghost Pepper Peach Sangria

Summer started today,  although here in Florida, summer feels like it starts much earlier!  What is even more fun about June 21st, is that it is the unofficial start date of sangria season!  The perfect answer to the humid, sweaty days of Florida summers!  My favorite girl, @sweetsbymaggie is here for the week, and we love to enjoy sangria together, it is just what we do 🙂

A friend gave me a bit of homemade ghost pepper honey a few weeks ago, which is the hottest pepper out there blended into honey.  I also had a bit of ginger left in the cooler, so I made a ginger simple syrup to use it up before it spoiled.  I saw a bottle of white wine on the pantry shelf and I knew what direction we were heading. It is so fun to play with sangria flavors, once you have the general idea of how to make a traditional white or red sangria, I highly recommend getting creative with the flavors.  I love muddling herbs in ours, basil and cilantro are great.

Here is the recipe I used, it made about 5 quarts and took me about 20 minutes to do.  We left it overnight and the next day it was nicely blended, all of the flavors had time to hang out together and bond 🙂

Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger

Put all ingredients into a heavy sauce pan and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. and cool.  The flavor will develop as it sits, so don’t be afraid to let it rest before you use it.

Simmer down Ginger!!!!!

Ghost Pepper Honey

  • 1 pinch ghost pepper flakes*
  • 3 teaspoons honey

Mix pepper flakes and honey together well, the longer the honey has to sit the stronger the heat will get.  A perfect item to have in your cabinet.

*You can use any pepper here, dry them slowly in the oven and then put in a coffee grinder to grind, you could even red pepper flakes if you would prefer.

Ginger and Ghost Pepper Peach Sangria

  • 2- 12 oz cans peach nectar
  • 1.5 liter Pinot grigio
  • 1 cup peach schnapps
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 2 peaches, cut in small bites 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries, muddled
  • 3 teaspoons ghost pepper honey
  • 2 cups ginger simple syrup

Sangria Fruit

Mix all ingredients together in pitchers (I used two which allowed room for stirring, and just split everything in half, for each pitcher).  Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.  If you let it sit longer then 12 hours check that the peaches haven’t been “overcooked”, they can become rancid over time.

Ginger and Ghost Pepper Honey Peach Sangria