Bottled cherries

Cherry season seems so fleeting... they are suddenly here and then they are gone, like so many fruits we wait for each year. Bottling them allows you to extend the season a little longer or indeed give you a blast of cheering cherry in the depths of winter. They go really well with game and, of course, chocolate, as anyone old enough to have experienced the 1970s will testify. Remember the much-maligned menu classic, Black Forest gateau? They are also the traditional fruit for go-to emergency dessert clafoutis, a quick-to-prepare batter with a layer of cherries that comes together to create a soothing, warming dessert perfect for almost every season. Both sour and sweet cherries can be preserved using the following method and used as pie fillings among other things, including the filling of a cake – how about a big thick chocolate cake?

Makes approx. 1 litre

500ml water
80g sugar
600g cherries, pitted

Combine the water and sugar in a pan and heat over a medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Put the cherries into warm, sterilised jars and top up with syrup, leaving a 2.5cm airspace. Remove any air bubbles with a clean skewer or chopsticks. Wipe the rim of the jars and put on the lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Once opened, refrigerate and consume within a month.

For more simple recipes to pickle and preserve the Do Preserves Cookbook is out now.