Sour Cherry Jam

We were home for the long weekend – in fact, this was the first weekend home and with no houseguests since mid May – so we seized the opportunity to take a quick afternoon trip to the u-pick farms.  We’d hoped to pick strawberries or raspberries, but found ourselves on the cusp of both seasons, and so only able to pick cherries.

Cherry Season at Spicer Orchards
Photo by The Hungry Masses

Now, I don’t know if I can conclusively say that cherries are my favorite fruit, but they’re certainly in the top 5, along with cantaloupe (or muskmelon), apples, clementines, and the first strawberries of summer. I love them in all forms – fresh from the tree, dried and stirred into oatmeal, even artificially bright red and dubiously a foodstuff.

Cherry Picking!

We hopped in the car and drove half an hour north to Spicer Orchards, where we paid the $1 deposit for our picking bucket and set to work. Shane climbed low branches to reach perfect cherries at the top of the low trees, while I wandered around collecting bright red berries in my gathered skirt.


We ended up with about 2 pounds of sour cherries (at $1.50/pound) and 3-4 pounds of sweet cherries (at around $2.50/pound) – definitely cheaper than the grocery store or the farmer’s market, not to mention more fun. The folks at Spicer make their own wine and cider and offer free tastings, so we tried a few samples and had a small lunch before heading home.

But what to do with all the cherries other than eat them? Excellent question. Sour cherry jam to the rescue!

Sour Cherries


Sour Cherry Jam

1.5 pounds of sour cherries yielded 1 pint and 3 half pints of jam. The recipe might have yielded more except that I made a ridiculous mistake in my math and so had to quickly pull and rinse the cherries when I realized I’d used at least twice as much sugar as was necessary. Granted, this wasn’t as bad as the time that I confused teaspoons and tablespoons when making bread in my parents’ bread machine – but it did result in using up the last of the sugar, thus preventing me from jamming up the rest of the cherries. Guess we’ll just have to wait for another day and another post!

Sour Cherry Jam from Food in Jars


Sour Cherry Sorbet + Boozy Cherries

Tart Cherries

I follow the Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Twitter, and when I saw that cherries were available at the Wednesday morning market, I made a significant detour on my way to work, arriving at the office with smoked fish and two kinds of cherries – tart and sweet – and no plan for what to do with them. That is, apart from eating them by the handful.

Two options presented themselves, both delicious and infused with and/or involving alcohol. First, Sour Cherry Lambic Sorbet using a recipe from Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream fame. Despite Shane’s giant beer stash (not BeerStache), we didn’t have a lambic on hand – and the New Glarus Cherry Stout was deemed too precious for ice cream. A Founder’s Cerise would have to suffice.

Take a couple of cups of sour cherries pitted, then blended til smooth. Combine with a cup of Cerise and a not so simple syrup, freeze in the ice cream maker, and stick in the freezer for a couple of hours. Serve to a half dozen friends who have just devoured ribs and are halfway through a pretty epic round of beer tasting.

Sour Cherry Sorbet

The rest? Well, let’s say that they’re destined for great things – and that I’ve finally found a use for the bottle of Crown Royal that we unearthed in my grandparents’ basement two Christmases ago, tucked far back on a shelf next to a box of cereal that expired in 1998.  The next 6 weeks are going to be torturous – but then oh the Manhattans I will drink!

Boozy Cherries in process

Boozy Cherries

Sour Cherry Cerise Sorbet from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream by way of Food & Wine – and now I really can’t wait to get her cookbook!
The Boozy Cherries recipe came from Put ’em Up!, a present from my fantastic friend Janet. I couldn’t find the recipe online anywhere, but it’s very similar to this one from our friends at Well Preserved.

Eating and growing locally: week seven (late)

Not a whole lot to report this week as we were gone to Bonnaroo from Wednesday through Monday.  Our pet sitter kindly took care of our garden in our absence.  We have tomatoes growing on the vine, but both the parsley and cilantro are definitely gone.  Time to dig ’em up and plant something new!  Lots of lettuce, beans getting taller, and one little strawberry.  Nom nom nom.

In addition to our OLS meal,  we had some failed zucchini pancakes, awesome awesome bison burgers, and munched on local peas and cherries in the car while waiting in line outside the ‘Roo festival grounds.  While the food we had at Roo was fantastic, we’re both glad to be home and back to eating good things – well, in theory at least.