This year, I missed preserving any of Michigan's sour cherries. The season is always so swift, and it is right around the 4th of July holiday, so usually work is really busy as we are preparing for the weeklong automotive shutdown we Detroit Three employees all traditionally take the first week of July. Then, we are usually packing and camping for the week. It leaves little time to make jam! This year, the good people of Smucker's sent me a sample of a new line of jams they are sugar sweetened (no HFCS) and made with local fruits. So, I tried out their Orchard's Finest Michigan Sour Cherry Preserves. I really enjoyed them on toast, and I thought I'd try them in a salad dressing. We had it for dinner tonight - I'm really pleased with how it turned out.
Cherry goes so well with basil. Last summer, I was sous chef to Tammy Coxen at one of her Tammy's Tastings events to raise funds for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen's Earthworks urban farm that feeds the hungry in Detroit. I baked a sour cherry pie, and Tammy made a tasy Thai Basil ice cream and they tasted wonderful together. So, I tried out a vinaigrette made with the sour cherry preserves and some of the tons of basil I currently have in my herb garden. I mixed it all up in the cute jar Smuckers is using for their preserves. The kids have only left me a little bit to experiment with! The jam takes the edge of the vinegar, and the licorice-y basil pairs so well with cherry. It's a great combination!
Cherry Basil Vinaigrette
3 T cherry jam
1/4 c red wine vinegar
10 basil leaves, rolled into a cylinder vertically and sliced thinly horizontally
2 T olive oil
1/2 T kosher salt
Place all ingredients in a lidded jar and shake until well mixed.