Just Freshening Up

Happy Summer, friends!  

My apologies for such a long absence, but I have been overhauling the blog and updating the site.  August seemed like a good time to do that when it's too hot to be anywhere outside right now.  I am loving the new cleaner lines of the blog and I hope you will enjoy the easier navigation on the page.  Feedback is always welcome, so let me know what you think!  

Summer has been so busy and the food has been sublime.  Our garden was drowning at the beginning of the summer, but has started producing crazy amounts of tomatoes and cucumbers right now.  I also had some of the best cherries I think I have ever had this summer and went back to buy a case of them and can them.  My BFF and her daughter and I put up 18 pounds of bourbon and maraschino cherries.  In true canning fashion, we had cherry juice over every exposed surface of our bodies and the kitchen.

 Canning is always a favorite of mine.  I feel completely connected to the food and my past all in the same moment.  Introducing future generations to it is always a good thing.  And, of course, when you spend a crazy amount of time processing food, you use every. single. part. of the food.  We also made cherry vodka and started our cherry bitters with the pits and flesh that was left.  Those bitters are going to be gorgeous Christmas gifts this year along with jars of bourbon cherries.  Our recipe is below.

Bourbon Cherries
by Jennifer Brian Cheek

2 cups organic unsweetened tart cherry juice concentrate
2 cups filtered water
2 cups bourbon
1/2 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs Pure Almond Extract
1 Vanilla Bean split and seeds scraped

Place all ingredients except bourbon and almond extract in saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 min.  Remove from heat and add bourbon and almond extract.  Remove cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean.  Pour liquid over packed jars of cherries until cherries are covered, but liquid is 1" below the top of the jar.  Do not overfill.  At this point you can either allow to cool and store in the fridge, or process in a canner and store on the shelves.  For non-alcoholic cherries, omit bourbon and add 1 additional cup of water.  

Summer has rallied for a last big push.  The rains are supposed to be ushering in some cooler temps and we are more than ready for them.  I need some porch time that doesn't involve me puddling and all of the ice in my cocktail melting instantly.

Stay tuned for upcoming cherry bitters recipes, more garden bounty recipes, and some shots of the birthday table I am setting this weekend! 


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