“You get sweet, you get a hint of bitter, you get caramel notes. It’s layer upon layer of thick, rich flavor, sophisticated yet pure. The moment you try sour cherry preserve, your mouth explodes with this complexity of summer tastes, and your foodie world changes for good forever. Having used sour cherries every summer since childhood, I have taken it upon myself to let everyone know how wonderfully versatile they are.”
The quote above is from my previous post highlighting our trip to a sour cherry orchard, and the preserve we made with the cherries we picked. I can’t believe this post is dated July 2017! It’s been too long since I last wrote about sour cherries. Time for an update, or so I think 🙂
We used to do a lot of baking and canning with sour cherries when we lived in Europe. These fruits are delicate, and there is a small window of opportunity at the end of June – beginning of July when you can buy them and use them straight away, otherwise they spoil. You can find sour cherries at select Chicagoland grocery stores, such as Fresh Farms International Market and Rich’s Fresh Market. For those of you with a bit of time on your hands, I strongly suggest you pick them yourselves. It can be so much fun! 🙂
This is what we did earlier this month, when we spent one lovely Saturday morning collecting sour cherries at Fruit Acres Farm Market and U-Pick in Coloma, Michigan. Located approximately 1 1/2 hour drive away from Chicago, Fruit Acres is a family-owned farm with a history that goes back 200 years. According to the info published on their website, “The Friday family settled this 200 acre fruit farm, located in Coloma Michigan in 1846. The Friday’s were originally from Bavaria in Germany and named Freitag. Randy and Annette (Friday) Bjorge are the 5th generation of Friday family farming the same farm. We met in college and Randy likes to say he married the farmer’s daughter. We took over the farm in 1991 after Annette’s father James Friday passed away suddenly.”
The Friday family grow black and Rainier sweet cherries, sour cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, pears and apples.
They also sell their produce and a variety of local produce at their own market, situated about 1 mile away from the u-pick family fruit farm.
Local berries, sweet corn, cantaloupe, and more fruits & vegetables are arriving daily:
It had just stopped raining when we arrived at the orchard, and the weather was cloudy and gloomy. As soon as we got off the car, we entered a magical place, full of joy and wonderment for kids and adults alike 🙂
And here they were, the objects of our desire! Showcasing a ruby red transparent beauty and a fragile appearance, these sour cherries were something to behold:
The entire family started cherry picking. With many recipes in mind and little time to waste, I wanted to fill up the buckets with as much fruit as possible.
We got back home around lunchtime and a few hours later I started working on my first sour cherry dish: cherry cheesecake cookies.
A few days later, I made sour cherry jam and syrup…
…which I used in various ways, such as a topping for a sponge cake. Sooo good:
I also used the jam to make sour cherry ice cream, with added mulberries from the garden. I just fold the jam into vanilla ice cream, and the result is absolutely scrumptious. I add a few refreshing mulberries and sour cherries on top, and that’s it! A fabulous summer treat is born:
At the moment I have quite a few jars of sour cherry jam and bottle of syrup stored in the pantry. I also like to use other preservation methods for pitted sour cherries, such as dehydrating and freezing. While they do become rather “watery,” previously frozen sour cherries are still amazing in baking, imo. Nothing like taking a bag of sour cherries out of the freezer in the middle of winter, to use in sponge cakes or bread puddings 🙂
Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated by Fruit Acres Farm Market and U-Pick for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.