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jca's avatar

Cherries in brandy in an air tight bag, refrigerated. Do you think they're good for baking, after about 6 months, or should I discard them?

Asked by jca (36043points) September 10th, 2014

This summer, I saw a recipe in a magazine (I think it was Food and Wine magazine) for brandied cherry oatmeal cookies. You could use purchased brandied cherries, but since I had real cherries and brandy, I decided to cut the pits out of the cherries and soak them in the brandy. I put the cherry pieces in a plastic bag with brandy, sealed it up and put it in my refrigerator. That was around May or June, 4 months ago.

I never made the recipe. I am considering keeping the mixture and making Jamaican Black Cake, which is a NY Times recipe. That uses liquor and fruit which is pureed. Jamaicans, I hear, pour more liquor onto the cake. I have had this cake from a Jamaican I used to work with and it was very good. It’s black and rich and definitely something holiday-ish.

Do you think the cherry pieces in the brandy will be preserved, or will it be something that should not be eaten?

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12 Answers

snowberry's avatar

I’d use them as long as there is no evidence of freezer burn. If freezer burn is only minor, I’d cut it off and go ahead.

jca's avatar

@snowberry: They’re not frozen. They’re in the refrigerator.

canidmajor's avatar

My friend makes a cherry cordial every year. The cherries steep in an alcohol solution (mostly brandy) for about three months in a cabinet. The six months in the fridge should be fine.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m presuming that the cherries were fresh (freshly pitted, anyway) when they were left in the brandy. In that case, what would give me pause is the proportion of brandy : fresh cherries. In most cases the alcohol in the brandy will preserve the fresh food that’s put into it, but if the water content of the cherries was too high in proportion to the amount of alcohol in the brandy, then there could be enough dilution of the alcohol to make it an ineffective preservative.

I have no idea what “too high” would be. Obviously, a teaspoon of alcohol won’t preserve a gallon of fresh cherries, and also obviously, a gallon of alcohol will easily preserve a single cherry. What’s the point at which the cherries-to-alcohol mix gets too low in alcohol and too high in cherries? That’s the question to answer here.

jca's avatar

@CWOTUS: I’d guess it was about ⅔ of a cup of cherry pieces and about 1 cup of brandy.

kritiper's avatar

Use them The brandy would have preserved them if the refrigerator didn’t and the heat of cooking will/would kill any offensive bacteria like bugs.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Are the cherries literally immersed in brandy in an air tight container? If so, would they even require refrigeration?

jca's avatar

@stanleybmanly: The cherries are immersed in the brandy, and that mush is in a plastic bag, sealed up. Sometimes I take it and mush it around. The cherries are mushy now.

canidmajor's avatar

Please make the Jamaican Black Cake and let us know how it turns out!

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’m curious about this, because all of us have seen those bottles of brandy with a whole pear in the middle on the shelves at high end liquor stores.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh man! Brandy infused cherries! Aged!!! I’ll be right over! I’d warm it a little and put it over 2 scoops of ice cream. That would be my dinner!

Brandy will sit on the shelf safely for decades. Refrigerated, I figure it is good for centuries!

You will be cooking this mix so that will kill any bacteria that happened to survive. It will also remove the alcohol. (Too bad.)

Buttonstc's avatar

I wouldn’t hesitate for an instant to use them. Yum yum.

I’ve had the Jamaican cake to which you refer. Several of the teachers in the school where I taught were from Jaimaica. One slice of this cake could get one tipsy.

If more booze is added on a regular basis for 6 mos. to a year, that is one really potent cake.

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