Spent the morning with Diane picking morello cherries at
Ken Campbell's vineyard and farm at Feehan's Road Mount Duneed. Ken has about 100 beautiful trees just coming into full ripeness and you can pick your own for $7 a kilo for the next 10 days. Give him a ring on 5264 1281. You will need some scissors, some shallow containers, a sun hat and a fly net is also useful. Ken and his wife Joy own a magnificent vineyard and orchard at Mt Duneed. Ken had the Mount Duneed wine label but now all the wines except the home paddock are made by Lethbridge Wines.
Diane and I spent a couple of glorious hours this morning picking about 18 kilos from 4 trees so get down, there are 96 left.
Again my Hungarian childhood memories are revived with these wonderful tart but balanced flavours. My mother used them for jam, strudel, pickled to have with goose liver or duck and she also preserved in marc or, as we call it palinka.
Preserving cherries in alcohol is a quick and simple [but you will have to be patient to enjoy them later] method.
Simply sterilise some glass clip top jars and add the washed morellos with the stems on, and sprinkle sugar between each layer. How much sugar is up to you, I like about 25%. Fill the jars with grappa, brandy or if you have access to it marc. You can add whatever aromatic spices you like but I like them plain with perhaps a very small piece of vanilla pod. Seal and store in a dark cool place for at least 2 months. Roll them occasionally to dissolve the sugar. They go well with simple cakes, in pancakes, with fresh cheese, one popped into a glass of fizz or indeed any way you please. The flavoured brandy left is also a brilliant digestive.
To spice them simply make up a pickling mix with good vinegar, sugar [I use about 30%] spices like bay leaves, chillies, garlic, black peppercorns. Whatever takes your fancy.
Let the pickling mix cool down so as not to soften the cherries. Fill some sterilised jars with the washed cherries [stem on] and pour on the cool pickling mix and seal. Set aside in a cool and dark place for at least 2 months. In this photo you see we used vacuum bags, they take up less room and work well. With this method we pour on the pickle mixture and seal but not to a full vacuum just tight.
Preserving with vinegar and this quantity of alcohol is a safe, quick and simple way to put these short seasoned favourites away for later. Make sure all containers have been carefully washed and sterilised.
Give them a go.