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Cherries

Contributed by: Jennifer A. Wickes

History / Geography

Cherries have been known to date back as early as 300 BC. They were given their name after a town, Cerasus, in Turkey. During the Middle Ages, it was decided that cherries should be eaten at the beginning of the meal. Cherries were thought to be a "cold" fruit that lowered the body temperature and would make people susceptible to fevers.

Varieties / Season

May to August

Sweet: These are larger, firmer and heart shaped. They can be eaten fresh or cooked. They are a dark red to purple shade. Bing, Lambert, Tartarian and Royal Ann.

Sour: These are smaller, softer and rounder. They are great for pies and jams. Early Richmond, Montmorency, Morello.

How to Choose

Choose brightly colored cherries that are shiny and plump. The sweet cherries should be firm, and the sour cherries should be semi-firm. Cherries with a stem last longer.

How to Store

Store unwashed in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Wine

French Columbard

Hints

If you don't have a cherry pitter, use a straw instead to help push the pit out! To maintain their color when baking (cakes, cookies, muffins etc.) use buttermilk or sour cream for some of the milk in the recipe.

Spices

Allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, mace and nutmeg.

Equivalents / Substitutions

1 pound = 3 cups stemmed = 2 1/2 cups pitted
10 oz. frozen = 1 cup
16 oz. can = 1 1/2 cups drained

More Informations

http://www.califcherry.com
http://www.cherrymkt.org/index.html

Recipes

Traditional Cherry Pie

  • 4 cups frozen unsweetened tart cherries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Pastry for 2-crust, 9-inch pie
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine cherries, granulated sugar, tapioca and almond extract in a large mixing bowl; mix well. (It is not necessary to thaw cherries before using.) Let cherry mixture stand 15 minutes.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry; fill with cherry mixture. Dot with butter. Adjust top crust, cutting slits for steam to escape.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven 50 to 55 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Yields: 8 servings

Cherry Marketing Institute: http://www.cherrymkt.org/index.html

Cherry Walnut Divinity

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup candied cherries -- Chopped
  • 3 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup corn syrup

Boil sugar, syrup, salt, and water to firm ball stage (248 F). Pour slowly, beating constantly, over stiffly beaten egg whites. Beat until candy begins to stiffen. Add candied cherries, flavoring, and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper, or pour into well- buttered pans. When cold cut in squares.

Yields: 12 servings

Cherry Soup

  • 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1 cup custard-style cherry yogurt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar -- or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Thaw tart and sweet cherries, reserving their juice. In an electric blender or food processor container, purée tart and sweet cherries with juice until smooth. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, sour cream, heavy cream and dried cherries; mix well. Add puréed cherries, grenadine, sugar and nutmeg; mix well. Let chill 1 to 2 hours to blend flavors. Serve chilled.

Serving size: 1/2 cup

Cherry Marketing Institute: http://www.cherrymkt.org/index.html

Cherry Jam

  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen unsweetened tart cherries
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1 3/4-ounce package powdered fruit pectin
  • 3/4 cup water

Coarsely chop cherries, then allow to come to room temperature. Do not drain cherries; use all the juice. Combine cherries with juice and sugar; mix well. Set aside 10 minutes; stir occasionally.

Combine pectin and water; bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in pectin, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Pour into containers to within 1/2 inch of tops. Seal with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours to set.

Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks, or freeze up to 1 year. To use, thaw in refrigerator.

Makes 5 to 6 cups

Serving size: 2 tablespoons

Cherry Marketing Institute: http://www.cherrymkt.org/index.html

NOTES : Follow recipe exactly. Do not make substitutions. Have ready clean freezer containers with lids (1- or 2-cup size).

This article was originally published at Suite 101.

Jennifer Wickes is the editor at "Cooking With The Seasons". This site was voted to be one of the Top 100 Culinary Sites on the Internet! To visit her site, go to: http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/cooking_with_the_seasons

Or visit her at Suite 101's Food and Drink Community: http://www.suite101.com/foodcenter/

Or contact her directly at: culinaryjen@yahoo.com


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