Oh sour cherries, your time is so short
I’m not usually a sucker for “limited time only” promotions, but when it comes to fruit, I get a little crazy.
The sour cherry season is here and gone; I picked up my first quart in late June and their run ended in mid to late July. Hoping to make the most of their limited season, I attempted to use them in a wide variety of applications.
Obviously, I had to make a pie.
Pie is the perhaps the most straightforward application for good fruit, aside from just eating it, but I wanted to take it a little further. I made my first foray into jam-making this year, and let me say that it is perhaps the most zen cooking experience that exists. Also, it’s really, really easy. Fruit+sugar+lemon juice=jam. Sour cherries make a particularly nice jam, so aside from putting it on toast, I put it into a gâteau basque.
Gâteau Basque, before and after
This was certainly delicious, but the next week I brought home another two baskets of sour cherries, and was a little unsure as to what I could possibly do with them. The answer: pickles and booze.
I stumbled across a recipe for pickled sour cherries in early July, and thought, what the hell, why not? I prepared some cherries and put them in a jar with a couple bay leaves and exactly 20 peppercorns. I poured a warm brine of white vinegar and sugar over the top, let it cool, and threw it in the fridge. I tried one a few days letter, and it was terrible. Harsh, acrid – why did I do this to these poor cherries? It was only last week when I decided to try another that I realized how incredible these are. Given the time to mellow out, these are insanely delicious – tart, sweet, and briny all at once.
As for the booze:
I put cherries in a big container (it’s hard to tell, but the above bottle holds 64 oz.), poured in some cheap vodka, and let it sit for a month. I then added sugar, stirred it, and am waiting until the next month is up, when I will strain the cherries and let the liquor mellow for about 6 months, depending on how patient and/or desperate I am.
The last remnants of les griottes are jars of the frozen fruit at the farmers market. Good? Probably. But not the same. I look forward to next June and the little baskets of red jewels that await.