This spring I joined the group Canning Across America. Being a member comes with all sorts of perks, like spending quality time in a room with several other people who find talking about head space and boiling water baths as fascinating as I do. Our meetings are fun, informative, full of great stuff to eat, and well-organized thanks to Kim O'Donnel, who founded this nationwide group in Seattle in 2009.
At our most recent CAA meeting we were each bestowed with several pounds of beautiful tree-fresh Bing cherries to take home, a generous gift from the kind folks at Northwest Cherries and Sage Fruit Company in Selah.
I love cherries.
Sweet cherries, sour cherries, and everything in between. I've made a lot of tried & true recipes with cherries over the years, but I took one bite of these Bings and decided that this time I would do as little as possible to them.
No chopping them up into chutney.
No juicing them and turning them into jelly.
I just packed 'em into jars, and poured a simple sugar syrup over the top.
Then I removed any air bubbles, wiped the rims clean, placed a seal on the jars and screwed on the bands. After processing in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes, they came out of the canning kettle looking a little surreal...the magnification qualities of glass jars tends to do that with fruit that's packed into them whole.
These Bings were the biggest, sweetest, shiniest orbs I'd seen in ages. Originally I was tempted to just eat them all fresh (mayyybe even sharing a few with friends) but I after tasting them in my Classic Cherry Compote today, I know I made the right decision to put 'em up.
In the middle of a dreary winter day, these Bings just might end up being the proverbial cherry on top of the cake of an otherwise hum-drum day.