"Always late but worth the wait" was an old bumper sticker my daughter once got for her high school boyfriend. Eventually he wasn't, but cherries always are, worth the wait, that is.
Cherries bring back sweet memories. I loved my grandmother's cherry pie when I was young, but I'd never tasted the real thing until I moved to San Jose, California where we had a sweet cherry tree and every spring our beagle Mitzi ate her fill of cherries.
Last week, I got these Morello cherries from Ayer's Creek Farm at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market. Tart pie cherries are a snap to pit compared to sweet cherries, but pitting them still takes time and the process is messy.
This Saturday at the U District Market, my friend Patty didn't show up, so after I bought everything on my list (and was on track with my budget), I went to drop off some amazing fresh goat Mozzeralla cheese from Port Madison Farm. I ended up going back to the market with Patty because she'd wanted cherries from Michael and Liz at Grouse Mountain Farm.
So as I was standing there at Michael and Liz's booth watching Patty load up on the Rainier cherries (where I'd already bought North Star cherries earlier), I grabbed a bag and started loading up.
No excuses; I'm weak.
The thing about cherries is, like asparagus, the season doesn't last long enough. And if it rains, all the ripe cherries can split, and splitting invites molds. . . You get the picture, life's a gamble in the fruit orcahrd. So when cherries come along, take your chances, live big and enjoy them while you can.
Later at home, I set my four pounds of North Star cherries on the counter.
With cherries, you have to process them the day you get them. Well, you might squeek by till morning, but I started pitting them right away.
Finn likes to watch everything I'm working on.
He has no idea these cherries may be a little sour for his taste.
Soft pie cherries squish as you pull out the pits. Watch out; the juice can spray up into your eyes if you aren't careful.
I froze and dehydrated a flat of Morello cherries last week.
For the North Star cherries, I saved enough for a dessert and I dehydrated most of them.
I have an old dehydrater from the 90s. I'd love a bigger version because dehydrated fruit is so underrated. You can add dried fruit to just about anything from oatmeal to muffins, cakes and cookies, to salads and pilafs.
I like to give dried organic sour cherries as gifts.
Finn seemed intrigued by the process and the juice seemed a tease as he looked at it right in front of him. Though I'd thought of using the juice I got curious. Would he try it?
Oh no! The exact feeling I get when I try to eat lemon.
I made this crisp from an old adapted recipe that I posted here last year. The flavors are on the tart side so if you want it more sweet than tart, add more sugar. And the lavender in this recipe gives just a hint of its flavor. If you don't like lavender, leave it out. Also, maple syrup is amazing in the crust, try it with maple syrup if you like.
Cherry Crisp with a Hint of Lavender
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup regular oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
4 cups pitted pie cherries
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon crushed culinary lavender
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and butter. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or knife until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Blend cherries with sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, arrowroot powder and lavender. Stir gently until well blended. Pour berry mixture into a 2iquart casserole dish. Place crumb topping on top and gently pat down.
4. Bake for 45 minutes or until browned on top. Remove and cool before serving.
Serve it with ice cream if you like, but I don't eat ice cream, and I discovered coconut sorbet is just as good on desserts like this.