Garden Diary - July 2017

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Putting Food By: Sour Cherries

Thursday, 20 July 2017

I have a garden journal. In it I make note of weather, temperature, perhaps what's in bloom (though BelleWood in Bloom is good for that, with pictures.) And also, when what food comes into season. Late June is when the sour cherries ripen. I'm especially eager this year, as there were none last year. The unseasonable frost damaged the flower buds.

This year is clearly a better situation. However,

protection of a different sort is necessary to keep
birds from pecking the fruit and causing damage.

There's a net stretched completely over the sour cherry tree.

When it's just Mike up in the orchard he uses a board to lift it off.

When both Mike and Dick are there, each has a long pipe with a padded end.

Each cherry is carefully snipped off its stem. Don't want to yank
and risk damaging the fruiting spur, reducing next year's production.

First option: sour cherries in brandied fruit syrup. Rinse cherries, trim any long stems but no need to stem and pit. Prepare berry syrup. I used strawberries and raspberries. Remove strawberry cap, slice large berries in half. Add a little sugar to start juices flowing, then slowly heat over medium flame. When berries are soft

strain berries and collect juices in a measuring cup. Repeat with raspberries.

Place cherries in a clean glass jar. Make syrup from berry juices,
and sugar. Cool to room temperature. Add brandy and pour

over the sour cherries. Cap, and refrigerate as long as you can resist eating them. Serve a few cherries in a large shot glass, with syrup. Eat cherries, using short stem as a handle, then imbibe the liquid. Or, serve cherries and liquid over vanilla ice cream. Pound cake is another good option.

The next recipes take more effort - the cherries must be pitted.

Sour cherry conserve = sour cherries, a Seville orange (there are a few in the freezer, parsimoniously doled out as needed). Sour cherry and red wine jam = sour cherries and a generous cup of Monteregio Di Massa Marittima Rosso. Sour cherry berry red wine jelly = juice from sour cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and a generous cup of that nice Italian wine.

This is what a good rolling boil looks like. Almost ready to pot up.

The weather is hot and humid. I'm thinking ahead to chilly wintry weather. Roasted pork, with a sauce that includes sour cherry conserve. Venison daube with sour cherry and red wine jam. Chocolate jelly roll with sour cherry berry red wine jelly. Summer in a jar.

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