Love them so much even tho they are very time consuming to pit. I bought 8 pints yesterday. Some dark some bright red, the vendor said no dif. The big dif is yesterday 4 pints of the dark ones yielded about 2.5 lbs pitted, today the 4 pints of bright red ones yielded 3.2 lbs of pitted.
My favorite fruit! There are subtle flavor differences between the dark ones (typically a Morello or Balaton variety) and the brighter ones (usually Montmorency) - and yes, the dark ones have bigger pits (usually). Enjoy your pies and treats!
What appealed to me immediately about the rumtopf you mentioned is both the perpetuation, and the possibility of using up bits and bobs of certain fruits as they become available in season. My mind races at the possibilities - I might have to keep a few versions going!
I haven’t, but I was planning to try a batch with this year’s sour cherry harvest (Montmorencys are done for the year, but a great orchard near me grows a late-ripening black sour variety, so we’re planning to head up there next weekend to pick). I might try making cherry pit syrup with the pits at the same time. Will report back!
NYT wants my email address for access so they can go pound sand. The other two recipes both call for maraschino liqueur.
Never heard of it before, and have not seen it as an ingredient in any of the cherries I have bought, including Luxardo, which I found incredibly disappointing given their “highly recommended” status in some bars and websites (mushy, too sweet, no tang or brightness).
Tillen Farms is seriously opaque on the fruits and flavors they use (which is understandable).
So before oredering online a $30 dollar bottle of liqueur that may be unnecessary, I am hoping someone here may have given this a try.
NY Times also calls for a cup of maraschino liqueur - bring to a simmer, turn off heat and add a pint of pitted fresh sour cherries (or a 24 oz jar in light syrup, drained). Let them sit in the fridge two days before using and indefinitely thereafter.
Despite their name, Luxardo cherries are not intended to be what Americans think of as maraschino cherries. They are really more like Amarena cherries, a candied sour cherry made from the Marasca cherry, a variety that I believe is unique to Italy. I love Amarena cherries but I agree with you that the Luxardo brand is not great - my favorites are the Fabbri brand.
I am actually hoping to approximate the Amarena style rather than an American maraschino. I was researching this the other day and came across this link:
Anyway, as far as I can tell by looking at crappy online photos of the Tillen Farms cherries, I would guess that they are made from sweet cherries, not sour. They look too large and too firm to be sour cherries, although they may use a firming agent like calcium chloride to help them keep their shape/snap (I don’t see it on their label but there may be a similar agent that can fall under the “natural flavors” or “vegetable and fruit concentrate” catchalls). The tang/brightness is probably from the lemon juice concentrate on their label - other brands use citric acid, which has the same effect.
You are definitely correct that maraschino liqueur is not going to get you a result similar to Tillen Farms - it’s just going to get you boozy cherries, which are delicious in their own right but not necessarily what you want in a Manhattan!
I wanted to get going while we still have seasonal sour cherries and strawberries, and started small in a mason jar. However the project was the perfect excuse to buy a couple of vintage ceramic rumtopf crocks on ebay. As soon as they arrive, I will transfer the brew to a larger vessel so I can add to it.
I’m going to try two versions this year, something along the lines of sour cherry-strawberry-peach-apricot and apple-pear-grape-walnut-cinnamon. I want to try and use as much of our home-grown fruits and berries as possible. I think this is the perfect project for backyard fruits, which tend to be imperfect, and often end up in bite-sized pieces when trimmed of any bad spots.
I went with Mount Gay rum which, in my neighborhood, is top shelf. I’m also thinking of using fermenting weights to keep the fruit under the surface.