Wandering the fruit and vegetable markets in southern France can be inspiring. This year, we have spent some time in the big Sunday market in Libourne, about 40k outside Bordeaux on the Bergerac road. There was the usual range of wonderful stallholders, selling delicious produce at fantastic prices. I was attracted by some magnificent looking cherries. I wanted to buy them. The Wife advised, as she often does, caution. What were they for? Had I a plan? Did I know what I wanted to cook with them?
The answer to all three questions being; “Ehhh”, “Not really” and “No”, in that (or any) order. Still, we returned to Libourne a week later and I got to buy more than a kilo of lovely cherries for the price of cup of coffee in Dublin. As we left the market, the Wife repeated her quizzing. My answers being; “But of course”, “But of course” and “But of course, Preserved Cherries with Herbs, what else?” (in exactly that order). The great thing about my seemingly flippant retort is that it will take 5 to 6 months for the cherries to mature in alcohol. By then, any potential “I told you so” over the cherry purchase will have gone out of our relationship. Either that or the Wife will have eventually had enough of me and will have departed herself!
Ingredients for Preserved Cherries with Herbs
- 1.2kg of top quality cherries
- .5 kg of sugar
- .5 litre of water
- .75 litre bottle of vodka
- A handful of fresh thyme
- A handful of fresh lemon balm
Here’s what I did.
I drove to the local supermarket and got my hands on half a dozen preserving jars. Next, I washed and dried the cherries. I added the sugar to the water and warmed it until the sugar had dissolved. Then I divided the cherries between the jars (enough for 6 jars).
I added some thyme and lemon balm to each jar. Then I added the vodka to the sugar / water mixture.
I filled each of the jars with sugary alcohol mixture and sealed.
So, what happens next?
Nothing happens now until Christmas, at the earliest. The jars will be kept in a dark cupboard and I will have a reminder on my calendar to take them out and try them either with some meat or as part of a dessert with ice cream. When they are the success that I believe they will be, all thoughts of my glib remarks will be a faded memory and the Wife and I will enjoy these lovely preserved cherries with herbs.
Either that or she will have had enough of my antics, will have left me and I can spend Christmas eating the cherries, drinking the alcoholic syrup and reminiscing on happier times on holidays, in France, with the Wife.