When cherries are in season, life is good. And when Rainier cherries are in season, it’s even better. And when you find them for $1.99 a pound? Some produce manager must have made a mistake. When I saw big bags of flawless Rainier cherries, I bought a whole lot – so many that we could never eat them before they went bad. Rainier cherries are really perishable – they bruise easily, and have yellow flesh.
My cherry tree is doing really well – it’s twice the height it was when I planted it – but it won’t be producing cherries for several years.

Rainier cherries are sweeter than Bing cherries and much more delicate.

 This recipe is really easy. The quantity of cherries doesn’t matter, as long as you have enough syrup to cover them in the jar.

Rummy Rainier Cherries
A pound or so – of Rainier cherries, pits reserved. (You can use Bing or even sour cherries)
Half strength simple syrup (For every cup of sugar, add two cups of water)
Dark rum (one tablespoon for each half-pint jar you end up filling)

Pit the cherries – I used an unbent paperclip – just push it into the stem end and scoop around the pit to pull it out. Do this over the pot you’ll be cooking in, and just drop the pits into the pot along with the cherries. The pits will give the cherries a slight amaretto flavor. Add in the sugar and water, and bring to a boil for five minutes. Remove the pits, and scoop the cherries into sterilized jars. Add one tablespoon of dark rum directly to each half-pint jar, then ladle in enough syrup to cover the cherries, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom. Seal the jars with sterilized lids and rings, then process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

We picked up these bottles of Cruzan rum in St. Croix last fall. I used the dark rum in these cherries.

Rummy Rainier Cherries

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