Sadly, did not really feel well enough to go out to dinner tonight. To comfort myself, I'm having homemade brandied cherries with lemonade and some extra brandy mixed in. Kind of like cough medicine, right?
The cherry making was a very long day. I met my friend Lisa in Oakland at 9 a.m. We drove out to Brentwood where we picked 40 lbs of organic apricots (oops) and 20 pounds of cherries. We then headed back to Oakland and spent the entire day canning--brandied cherries, brandied apricots, cherry chutney, apricot chutney, apricot jam and my favorite, apricot amaretto jam. I think we'll make most all of them again next year, but on separate days. That day, I was lucky to make it home by 9 pm!
Lisa and I have been canning together for more than a year now. We've done cherries, apricots, strawberries, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, cranberries, quince, blackberries, pomegranates and I may be forgetting something. I had always been scared of canning, but have found that once you know the basics, it is a great way to take advantage of the farmers market and backyard produce.
Next up are more pickles, hopefully including beets and cauliflower this time. In the future, I hope to acquire a pressure canner for more options.
Any suggestions? Anything that has worked well or failed you? If you are local, come join us some time.
My favorites, btw: brandied cherries, amaretto apricot jam, pickled green beans, Mariquita tomato sauce and strawberry-balsamic-pepper jam.