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So, just so I know.... which kind of cherry would one use if you wanted to make your own "maraschino" cherry, sweet or sour? Thanks!

Oh and a trick I learned last year for pitting a cherry... I used the small side of my baller for watermelon... worked great.

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Oh and a trick I learned last year for pitting a cherry... I used the small side of my baller for watermelon... worked great.

We use one of those $5 presses that you screw on to a small Ball jar. Put the cherry down, press the piston, and the pit shoots in to the jar. Kids love to help with cherry pitting!

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anybody seen sour cherries?
Yes, one or two weeks ago, a very, very small crop of sour cherries were at an unexpected place at Dupont Circle last week (Buster's).

However, the farmers who sell the fruit say that sweet cherries generally arrive a couple of weeks before the sour ones do.

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So, just so I know.... which kind of cherry would one use if you wanted to make your own "maraschino" cherry, sweet or sour? Thanks!

Oh and a trick I learned last year for pitting a cherry... I used the small side of my baller for watermelon... worked great.

I find that sour cherries have a stronger flavor for macerating and eventual use in cocktails, especially since I cure them by soaking them in a sugar syrup, kirsch and brandy.

I would think that using a melon baller to pit a cherry would cause a fairly substantial loss of flesh. A cheap and minimally invasive way to do it without buying a cherry pitter is to bend open a paper clip and use the smaller loop end--insert it into the flesh at the point of the stem dimple, snag the pit and pull it out.

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I would think that using a melon baller to pit a cherry would cause a fairly substantial loss of flesh. A cheap and minimally invasive way to do it without buying a cherry pitter is to bend open a paper clip and use the smaller loop end--insert it into the flesh at the point of the stem dimple, snag the pit and pull it out.

When I asked abuot buying one of their fancy dancy gadgets (the the kind DanielK described), the folks at Homestead Farms just taught me to do it with my thumb. Worked pretty well, all in all.

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Westmoreland Farms had sour cherries on Saturday (June 7) at the Arlington Courthouse farmer's market.

We also use the paper clip method to pit cherries - very easy and does not add to the kitchen gadget drawer clutter.

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When I asked abuot buying one of their fancy dancy gadgets (the the kind DanielK described), the folks at Homestead Farms just taught me to do it with my thumb. Worked pretty well, all in all.

That's how I feel about the $40 gadgets where you pour in a bowl of cherries, and just keep turning the crank. And I'll do it with fingers if I'm just pitting a few to eat. But the $5 screw-on to the Ball jar is very convenient, easily washed, and if we're making jelly, pie, etc., far quicker than the finger or paper clip method.

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I just bought the OXO pitter. It was inexpensive and hopefully will make quick work out of pitting cherries this season.

I have a couple of different but similar pitters, which are fine for pitting enough cherries to make a pie. But each cherry must be lifted, placed and removed from the pitter individually. When faced with the task of pitting 35 pounds of cherries, enough for several dozen jars of jam, the bucks shelled out for a Leifheit semi-automatic cherry pitter seemed like a no-brainer. It still must be carefully used, lest many pits remain in with the cherries. but it saves hours of tedious work.

Leifheit pitter

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We have our first quart of sour cherries, thanks to Waitman and Mrs. B. Tree & Leaf had them at Mt. Pleasant today; there's a chance that they may have some tomorrow at Dupont. I am using them to make the sour cherry and almond ice cream from The Perfect Scoop.

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I picked up a quart of Queen Anne cherries from Spring Valley while at the Alexandria market this morning. I thought they would be like the cherries that I posted on in the first post of this thread (which I believed to be Ranier). They are not as sweet. In fact, some have a bit of a bitter taste. It's not bad, just not what I expected (goes to show you really need to try things like these before you buy).

Does anyone have an idea how I can use these? The Ranier (?) I ate out of hand, they were so nice. This is a bit different so I'm wondering if these Queen Anne cherries would be good in baking? Uses?

Thanks all!

ps...Spring Valley's sweet red cherries were sweet, delicious and plump. Go get 'em!

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They are not as sweet. In fact, some have a bit of a bitter taste. It's not bad, just not what I expected (goes to show you really need to try things like these before you buy).

Does anyone have an idea how I can use these? The Ranier (?) I ate out of hand, they were so nice. This is a bit different so I'm wondering if these Queen Anne cherries would be good in baking? Uses?

Macerate in sugar and kirsch and some lemon zest. Make a clafouti with them.

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We have our first quart of sour cherries, <snip>I am using them to make the sour cherry and almond ice cream from The Perfect Scoop.
Heather, what did you think of the recipe? I did the same with some sour cherries last year and thought the sour cherry and almond ice cream was WAY too rich. I've had so little success when I've tried to strike out on my own with ice cream recipes that I followed that one to a T. Hated the fatty texture (but, at least there were no ice crystals, my other nemesis!).
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Heather, what did you think of the recipe? I did the same with some sour cherries last year and thought the sour cherry and almond ice cream was WAY too rich. I've had so little success when I've tried to strike out on my own with ice cream recipes that I followed that one to a T. Hated the fatty texture (but, at least there were no ice crystals, my other nemesis!).
I loved the flavor. I am probably not the best one to ask about richness because I use the flavor combinations from that The Perfect Scoop, but always substitute the recipe from the French Laundry Cookbook for the base: ten egg yolks, 2 c. heavy cream, 2 c. whole milk.
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The guy at my local market who grows sour cherries reports that his will not be ready for a couple of weeks. Due to travel plans, that means I'll miss them completely this year unless I go to another market to find them. Who has sour cherries right now? I'm willing to log some miles to nab a flat. (We're out of sour cherry jam, and that's not cool...)

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The guy at my local market who grows sour cherries reports that his will not be ready for a couple of weeks. Due to travel plans, that means I'll miss them completely this year unless I go to another market to find them. Who has sour cherries right now? I'm willing to log some miles to nab a flat. (We're out of sour cherry jam, and that's not cool...)
Rochelle: Cf. forum on farmers' markets and farms.

There were a number of farms at Dupont Circle who were selling sour cherries this past weekend, though one organic farm in VA told me that this was the last week. One MD guy should have more. Some PA farms may be ready this upcoming weekend, if not, the week after. I might have information come Friday.

Meantime, got a recipe for preserves you're willing to share? Please and thank you.

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The guy at my local market who grows sour cherries reports that his will not be ready for a couple of weeks. Due to travel plans, that means I'll miss them completely this year unless I go to another market to find them. Who has sour cherries right now? I'm willing to log some miles to nab a flat. (We're out of sour cherry jam, and that's not cool...)

If NoVa is not too inconvenient, you may want to check out the Kingstowne market on Friday afternoons. Allenberg Orchards may have them next week. If not, it will be the week after 4th of July, because the market it closed that weekend.

http://www.bestorchard.com/

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If NoVa is not too inconvenient, you may want to check out the Kingstowne market on Friday afternoons. Allenberg Orchards may have them next week. If not, it will be the week after 4th of July, because the market it closed that weekend.

http://www.bestorchard.com/

The web site only lists sweet cherries. Are they going to have sour ones as well?

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The web site only lists sweet cherries. Are they going to have sour ones as well?

They definitely will have them (I got their sour cherries last year too), but it may be this Friday, or 2 weeks from Friday (no market over 4th of July weekend).

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The guy at my local market who grows sour cherries reports that his will not be ready for a couple of weeks. Due to travel plans, that means I'll miss them completely this year unless I go to another market to find them. Who has sour cherries right now? I'm willing to log some miles to nab a flat. (We're out of sour cherry jam, and that's not cool...)

Homestead Farm near Poolesvile.

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The guy at my local market who grows sour cherries reports that his will not be ready for a couple of weeks. Due to travel plans, that means I'll miss them completely this year unless I go to another market to find them. Who has sour cherries right now? I'm willing to log some miles to nab a flat. (We're out of sour cherry jam, and that's not cool...)
Tyson's Farms had sour cherries at the Ballston market on Friday, which I realize does you no good since this Friday is a holiday.
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Thanks, ya'll. Actually my local guy had them yesterday, so I'm all set.

Great! My favorite vendor Allenberg from Smithburg MD said that they had a hail storm last week which has threatened the sours. :lol: I'll see in a couple weeks.

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Mona, the absolute nadir for me was the year the cicadas ate every single Queen Anne cherry on the tree in our front yard the second they ripened. Literally, one day they weren't sweet yet and the next day they were all gone. Damn.

Anna Blume, I don't have enough experience with jam-making to spread my wings much right now. (I'm still learning to troubleshoot.) I've had success with following directions on the box of pectin and with using the USDA's Complete Guide to Home Canning.

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Mona, the absolute nadir for me was the year the cicadas ate every single Queen Anne cherry on the tree in our front yard the second they ripened. Literally, one day they weren't sweet yet and the next day they were all gone. Damn.

Anna Blume, I don't have enough experience with jam-making to spread my wings much right now. (I'm still learning to troubleshoot.) I've had success with following directions on the box of pectin and with using the USDA's Complete Guide to Home Canning.

Wasn't the cicadas as they don't eat once they come out of the ground, they just mate and lay eggs. IIRC they don't actually have a mouth. Must have been birds as they can strip a tree pretty quickly.

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I have a quart of sweet cherries from the market last weekend and a bbq on friday. Does anyone have suggestions of a dessert I can make with them? I have the dark ones and some that are more like Raniers. Please help, I don't want to be wasteful, and went a little berry crazy this weekend...

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I have a quart of sweet cherries from the market last weekend and a bbq on friday. Does anyone have suggestions of a dessert I can make with them? I have the dark ones and some that are more like Raniers. Please help, I don't want to be wasteful, and went a little berry crazy this weekend...

A clafouti. This recipe works delightfully for me with a couple of (optional) additions. First, when pitting cherries, toss them with a little cherry brandy (or get wild and try some Grande Marnier) and a tablespoon of sugar and freeze them. This keeps the cherry juice from leaking into the batter while cooking and adds a little extra taste. Similarly, 1/8 tsp of almond extract makes up for the flavor allegedly lost by pitting the cherries (if you don't have one, a cherry pitter from your local kitchen shop is a worthwhile investment). Alice Waters also flings a little cinnamon and lemon rind into the mix, but the very thought of such apostacy makes certain French types livid. If you're feeling sassy, buy or make a little cinnamon ice cream to go with.

Finally, if using unfroze cherries, I'd err on the low side of the 45 minute-1 hour cooking time.

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I have a quart of sweet cherries from the market last weekend and a bbq on friday. Does anyone have suggestions of a dessert I can make with them? I have the dark ones and some that are more like Raniers. Please help, I don't want to be wasteful, and went a little berry crazy this weekend...
How about a crisp? Something like this would be good, as apricots are also in season.
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A clafouti. This recipe works delightfully for me with a couple of (optional) additions. First, when pitting cherries, toss them with a little cherry brandy (or get wild and try some Grande Marnier) and a tablespoon of sugar and freeze them. This keeps the cherry juice from leaking into the batter while cooking and adds a little extra taste. Similarly, 1/8 tsp of almond extract makes up for the flavor allegedly lost by pitting the cherries (if you don't have one, a cherry pitter from your local kitchen shop is a worthwhile investment). Alice Waters also flings a little cinnamon and lemon rind into the mix, but the very thought of such apostacy makes certain French types livid. If you're feeling sassy, buy or make a little cinnamon ice cream to go with.

Finally, if using unfroze cherries, I'd err on the low side of the 45 minute-1 hour cooking time.

I'm going to try this. Thanks!!!

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Clafouti and the Crisp (Hootie's new band?) sound great. I intend to try this one out at one point soon:

Quick-candied cherries (scroll down).

And I wish I hadn't devoted all my sour cherries to two small jars of preserves since the season's so short (Country Pleasures had some last week, though, and maybe Toigo, still?). This is really, really good and may even work with the ones I've cooked: Persian Rice w Sour Cherries.

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Clafouti and the Crisp (Hootie's new band?) sound great. I intend to try this one out at one point soon:

Quick-candied cherries (scroll down).

And I wish I hadn't devoted all my sour cherries to two small jars of preserves since the season's so short (Country Pleasures had some last week, though, and maybe Toigo, still?). This is really, really good and may even work with the ones I've cooked: Persian Rice w Sour Cherries.

Thanks you guys for all this sour cherry talk. I've never bought them before but this thread got me really excited about sour cherry preserves so when I saw them at the market last week, I couldn't resist. I'm normally a strawberry/rhubarb jam kind of girl but these are awesome! I added just a touch of almond extract as prescribed by Zora and have been enjoying it out of the jar with a spoon.

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There should be sour cherries at farmers' markets in the area for at least another week or two. I picked up a quart from Toigo and one from Country Pleasures this past Sunday and saw the fruit at several other stands while making my rounds.

I intend to freeze most of them, perhaps trying Zora's recommendations for preserves next week since I just haven't been in the mood for pie lately.

Any opinions about the best, most versatile technique? I planned simply to wash, pit and start the process on baking sheets before bagging them. However, online sites also recommend packing them in simple syrup or with sugar--or adding ascorbic acid to retain color. I would like to preserve them for a cold, winter day, perhaps spooning them over a moist slice of dark chocolate cake.

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There should be sour cherries at farmers' markets in the area for at least another week or two. I picked up a quart from Toigo and one from Country Pleasures this past Sunday and saw the fruit at several other stands while making my rounds.

I intend to freeze most of them, perhaps trying Zora's recommendations for preserves next week since I just haven't been in the mood for pie lately.

Any opinions about the best, most versatile technique? I planned simply to wash, pit and start the process on baking sheets before bagging them. However, online sites also recommend packing them in simple syrup or with sugar--or adding ascorbic acid to retain color. I would like to preserve them for a cold, winter day, perhaps spooning them over a moist slice of dark chocolate cake.

I have frozen them intact, on a baking sheet, then in baggies. They defrost rather quickly-then I pit them.

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First, thanks, Mona.

Second, thanks to Zora's and Heather's contributions, I secured pectin made for low-sugar recipes. Unfortunately since I did not process this Sunday's sour cherries until last night, I ended up throwing half of them away, making my 1 1/2 jars of preserves very pricey since I had gotten mine from a special source that had limited, very ripe supplies.

After pitting, I had about 2 cups of fruit and juice. I used 3/4 cup sugar and mixed in a T of pectin; I could have used only a teaspoon instead and should have. Added a little of the juice (T of lemon might have been nice, but not available) and stirred until dissolved and simmering for a minute.

Then added the fruit. Cooked for about 10 minutes. A tiny bit of almond extract (even less next time for such a small batch), then into jars and eventually fridge.

Delicious! A bit too set for stirring into yogurt, especially. I'd prefer it a bit looser next time.

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I bought a quart of sweet cherries at the market this weekend. They are not as sweet as I would like, in fact they are fairly bitter. I'd like to do something with them that I can freeze. Something like a savory cherry sauce sounds good. Any thoughts? Any recipes? Thanks!

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I bought a quart of sweet cherries at the market this weekend. They are not as sweet as I would like, in fact they are fairly bitter. I'd like to do something with them that I can freeze. Something like a savory cherry sauce sounds good. Any thoughts? Any recipes? Thanks!

You can freeze cherries on a sheet and then store in a ziploc baggie for a couple months. That said, I recently made a cherry gastrique from Ad Hoc. Basically, you take about 9-10 ounces of cherries, 1 cup of vinegar (Banyuls, sherry...) and 1 cup honey. Simmer* for about 35-45 minutes, until reduced by 2/3 and syrup-like.

Strain through sieve, pressing cherry pulp (which were not pitted). Add a few reserved chopped, pitted cherries for flavor and texture. Refrigerate up to a month.

You can use this as a sauce, a glaze or even as a base for a vinaigrette.

Chicken with cherry gastrique.

*some foam will occur while simmering. Just skim it lightly.

eta: Ad Hoc is amazing...looking under "cherry", I also found a vinegar recipe. Use the pits from 1 pound of cherries. Bring 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar to a simmer. Pour over pits and steep for an hour. Drain. Sounds simple-and here I've been spitting pits out for 2 days and tossing them :)

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I am enamored with sour cherries. How have I not discovered these sooner? Today I finally got around to pickling some of them for cocktails, which was the reason I bought them, but I realized I had a lot more cherries than needed to be pickled for that purpose. So far I have enjoyed them mixed into Trader Joe's chocolate yogurt for a desserty snack (SO good), muddled them into my sweet tea vodka lemonade, eaten them plain (the ripe ones are perfectly fine for this imo), and I plan to candy the remainder to be used for ice cream and perhaps if there are any left, in a savory dish.

If there are any at the market this weekend, I think I'll buy another quart to make preserves. Sour cherries, wooo! :P

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eta: Ad Hoc is amazing...looking under "cherry", I also found a vinegar recipe. Use the pits from 1 pound of cherries. Bring 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar to a simmer. Pour over pits and steep for an hour. Drain. Sounds simple-and here I've been spitting pits out for 2 days and tossing them mad.gif

There's a recipe in my new seasonal cookbook that I referred to elsewhere (Cooking in the Moment, Andrea Reusing) for a cherry pit panna cotta. You bring a mixture of cream, milk and sugar and the pits to a simmer for 10-12 minutes (don't breathe the fumes while doing this - toxic!) and then let steep for an hour. You then reheat it and strain and mix with gelatin in water to make the custard. You serve it with some of the pitted cherries when it's finished. Obviously not the whole recipe, but gives you the idea I think.

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Or you can just use a little bit of almond extract, which will give you the "cherry pit flavor." I always add a tiny amount of almond extract to sour cherry preserves. It gives them a more intense cherry flavor without being identifiable.

But then you're not using up something you'd otherwise waste. ;)
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I am enamored with sour cherries. How have I not discovered these sooner? Today I finally got around to pickling some of them for cocktails, which was the reason I bought them

How are you pickling your cherries? I've steeped them in cognac before and was not enamored with the results, but I never thought of pickling them. (In my head I keep picturing cherries+dill pickles, which I know isn't what you're doing but which still grosses me out anyway.)

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