This blasted heatwave has me worried, and not for the reasons any sane individual would think. Frankly, it's cramping by canning schedule. Who wants to boil pots of water to properly seal jars?
Next week we'll talk about making maraschino cherries and an irresistable cherry conserve, which is the base for making homemade cherry slushies. Today calls for something that doesn't require adding more heat to fan the flames of the sun's rays.
Thankfully there's more than one way to preserve a cherry (and strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, really the list goes on and on). When I remodeled the kitchen a few years back, I purposely sought out a fridge and freezer that could hold my half sheet pans. I'm really glad I thought ahead, because right now chances are you'll find a tray in my freezer, similar to the one you see above, at any given moment.
To prep the cherries, simply pit them, then spread them single layer on a wax paper or parchment paper lined tray (I suggest a rimmed tray so none roll off as you move it from counter to freezer). Set the tray in the freezer until the fruit is firm, about 2 to 3 hours for cherries. Then transfer the cherries to a heavy duty zip top bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. They should last for a good few months this way. My plan is to save some whole, and make more jam and conserve when the temperatures cool down a bit.
Right now the cherries are keeping raspberries and strawberries company. I even have cantaloupe balls in there, destined for a sherbet. And given the choice, I'd gladly switch places with them all in a heartbeat given the 100ºF we're expecting today in NYC.