Monday, July 12, 2010

Seasonal Eating: Sour Cherries

For a very long time, as far back as I can remember, I thought I didn't like cherries. My aunt and uncle lived and worked on an orchard. And every year they would send us home with bags and bags full of cherries. My mom loved them. Not me.

Last year, in my quest to eat locally and in season - I gave cherries another try. Sweet cherries are in season first, and well, sweet cherries just sound good don't they? I really wanted to like them. They're so pretty and the idea of them is so lovely. But I always felt they were just bleh. Then, you may remember, late last season I discovered sour cherries. Oh my. Now those are good. I guess a lot of people don't like them for eating plain, I love them that way. The tartness is divine.

The closest place I found by me that has u-pick sour cherries was about 40 minutes away. My camera died, so you get no pictures. Boooo.  I wish the sweet and sour cherries overlapped, but sweet picking ended last week and sour started this week. I would have liked to supplement with some sweet cherries in the recipes. Also, there are not nearly as many sour cherry recipes as sweet.

I made another batch of Sour Cherry Vodka
I froze about 2 cookie sheet fulls of cherries and made some Cherry Raspberry Jam using Pomonas

I discovered Pomonas at the beginning of the season, and I love it. I've had nothing but excellent results with it and it allows me to use minimal sugar.

Low Sugar Pectin, 1 oz. Box

I also made some Sour Cherry Jam using the Pomona Pectin. There really is no recipe to follow. The basic idea is 4 cups of fruit, 2tsp calcium water, 2tsp pectin powder and lemon or lime juice if needed. You can use white sugar, sugar substitute or honey. I've only done white sugar so far, between 1-2 cups depending on the fruit (and I get 4-6 jars per recipe) I'm reluctant to try honey after the overpowering honey flavor in the strawberry jam last year.

I wanted to can some cherry pie filling too, but all the recipes I found called for Clear Jel, which I didn't have and was too lazy to go get. Maybe I can do it with the frozen berries later.

Do you love cherries? Hate them? Sweet or sour? Share your recipes!

Guess what I didn't have? Yeah, a cherry pitter. Pitted by hand baby.

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