Cherry Cerise

After the earlier rains rotted all the sweet dark cherries, I turned my attention to the other cherry trees in the garden. They held a smaller, very red cherry. The French call these cerise originel, the Yanks sour cherry and we often refer to them as the morello cherry.

These little beauties, though originally very tart became quite, quite sweet as the blistering hot sunshine ripened them throughout June. Scoffing them directly from the tree and having a bowl-full with breakfast became the norm. Eventually as they began to ebb, I picked a big bunch washed them and placed them directly into kiln jars, with a handful of sugar and topping up with vodka. Having given the bottle a good shake, I placed them into a dark cupboard where I’ll leave them for a good six-months and then resurrect them for a shot of intense sweet summer sunshine in the depths of winter.
As the cherry season began to end, I panicked, it was jam-making time. I needed to capture all those sweet, juicy berries and keep them safe for friends and for winter time when these summer treats are but a distant memory. I stoned about 4lbs of them, only to find later that the tiny amount of pectin the cherry has is mostly contained within the stone….no matter; the colour – an extreme burst of wondrous cerise – the taste so sweet and addictive, more than made up for the consistency. I left the cherries whole and they looked entirely beautiful suspended aloft in their deep pink home.
Stored in the fridge the jam sets well and served in a small bowl at breakfast it is a welcome addition to hot croissants or fresh bread.
I’ll stick the Sour Cherry Vodka in the freezer at New Year and to cheer us in darkest January will be ice cold shots of cerise vodka…divine!

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