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Morello cherries are a variety of sour cherry. They are deep burgundy, sometimes appearing nearly black in color. Most cherry varieties are sweeter, but Morello cherries are very tart; therefore, many people do not enjoy their strong taste when they are uncooked. Morello cherries are often used after being heated for both sweet and savory dishes.
One of the most basic ways you can use Morello cherries is for jam. The cherries need to have the stems and pits removed prior to heating. The prepared cherries are combined with pectin, a chemical that holds the fruit together and gives it a gel-like texture. Morello cherry jam can be kept in sealed glass jars and used as a spread for bread, biscuits, or scones.
The cherries also make a rich filling for cakes, tarts, and pies. Some people prefer Morello cherries because they have a stronger flavor than sweet cherries, which may lose some of their taste after being exposed to high temperatures. The cherries are heated and combined with sugar to give the cherries a thick syrup. In addition to being added to a dessert crust or as a filling, it can be served as a sauce that can be spooned atop pancakes, waffles, or other desserts.
These cherries can also be used to make a liqueur, a sweet alcoholic drink that can be served alone, used to flavor cocktails, or as a light topping for pound cake or ice cream. Morello cherry liqueur is a combination of vodka, sugar, and water, added along with an equal amount of cherries. The cherries steep in the vodka mixture for approximately three months to flavor it. The solid pieces are then filtered out and the liquid is transferred to a glass bottle. The liqueur tastes more flavorful the longer it sits, so it can be stored for an indefinite period of time with favorable results.
You can use these sour cherries in savory dishes as well. The cherries can be used to make a sauce to serve alongside duck, pork, or chicken. The fruit is combined with garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and chile peppers for an Asian flavor, while Russian cuisine uses a heated sour cherry and sugar mixture as a topping for roast veal.
If you have a large batch of fresh Morello cherries, you can freeze the extras to use for another time. Individual fruits need to be spread out on a large baking sheet or other flat surface and frozen separately or they will form a large block. Once the cherries are individually frozen, they can be added together to an airtight container. Frozen cherries tend to work best if you add them to recipes when they are still frozen, because thawed cherries will be too soft and wet.
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