lindacJune 6, 2012

Reality has set in.....they looked so good...those dark red sweet Michigan cherries.....and I bought more than I can eat before they go south, without making myself sick!!

What can I do with them?....make one of those summer tortes and give some away or freeze half....

What else?

Linda c

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No suggestions, but a question I've been meaning to ask for years. "Sweet cherries" - are those the normal ol' cherries, the only ones I know? If so, "sweet" as opposed to what?

These are the only fresh cherries I'm familiar with. Is this what's meant when a recipe calls for sweet cherries?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:54PM
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FOAS: There are varieties of tart or sour cherries, too.

If I had a bunch I'd pit and freeze them for a tart or pie in winter.

We had a hard rain the other day. That usually ruins the local crop. I hope not. I've only had a few cherries this month.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:18AM
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I prefer sour cherries or "pie cherries" but never see them to have to know someone with a tree.....who is willing to fight off the birds! would you freeze them? Blanch? or just wash and pit?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:26AM
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In the past I simply washed, pitted and froze in measured amounts in freezer bags. Now I would probably freeze on a cookie sheet before placing in bags. I made cherry crisps in winter that year. Such a treat. I would like to do it again this year if I have the time. Pitting the cherries was a long task in front of the TV with brown hands to show for it. I bought a couple of flats. I was newly married and being very domestic.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:37AM
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Just wash and them like little Popsicles.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:38AM
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Hmmm....maybe I better buy more while they are in season.....

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 1:00AM
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Yes, buy more and freeze them individually. Then make that quick ice cream or some sorbet with just some sugar and a squeeze of lime or lemon.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 1:07AM
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Sweet cherries are also good dehydrated. Wash them under running water and remove stems and pits. Dip into an acidic water bath to help prevent bacteria growth during storage (1 t. citric acid to 1-quart water OR 1 T. Fruit Fresh to 1-quart water). Drain most of the water off of them and place in your dehydrator in a single layer. Dry at 140-degrees F. between 6-18 hours. They are done when they yield no moisture from the flesh when pulled apart and you squeeze the cherries, but are still soft and pliable. Some people like them crispy-dry, your choice. Great added to baked goods or your morning oatmeal. Add them to cranberry sauce the next time you make it.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 4:22AM
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Barnmom, you need a cherry/olive pitter! I have a smaller version, but if I ever get cherries from my young tree, I'll be upgrading to the one I linked to.

I can pit 3 times as many cherries in the same amount of time, and no brown fingers :-) My smaller version also works for Greek oilves.

Here is a link that might be useful: cherry pitter

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:01AM
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Just to try to clarify...

Sweet cherries are actually the very dark "black" cherries. They are sold for immediate consumption usually as a snack. While you can make jams or sauces with them, they will have a distinctly different flavor from the common sour cherry.

Sour cherries are the bright cherry red and are the type used in baking...think cherry pie. Most of the cherry jams and preserves are made with sour cherries.

I've never seen black cherries dried, they use sour cherries. It's all about the flavor.

When I worked at American Spoon (a Michigan company that made Michigan fruit products) I would always keep a jar of black cherry sauce open for tasting and a jar of sour cherry preserves just so people could see and taste the difference. We sold very little of the black cherry product. they just don't taste good after being cooked.

At some of the cherry orchards I can buy 10 lb. bags of pitted cherries, ready to freeze. I usually divide them into 4 or 5 cup bags, ready for pie or what ever else I may make. I also make my own cherry sauce to put over desserts from frozen.

I've never dried my own sour cherries, they sell them around here in 4 lb boxes for about $20. That's a lot of dried cherries!

Linda, I have to wonder if the cherries you bought were actually from Michigan. Our crop was damaged this year by the screwy weather and reports are that 90% was damaged. The remaining 10% isn't worth the effort. Cherry product producers are importing sour cherries from Poland.

Often I'll see black cherries in the grocery stores, before ours are ready, they come from Washington State.
I can't remember ever seeing sour cherries (from anywhere) sold fresh in any of the big grocery stores. Sour cherries are very fragile and don't keep well or ship fresh well.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:48AM
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I tried a new recipe last fall for a delicious cranberry-orange upside-down cake and plan on making it with quartered dark cherries instead of the cranberries. I'll post the recipe if it turns out as good as I am anticipating.

The bulk food store where I shop has both dried sweet and sour cherries. I like the dried sweet ones in applesauce nut bread.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:36AM
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Nancy, Sour cherries are not necessary always bright red. There are varieties which are darker than 'black" sweet cherries. These varieties are especially common in Eastern Europe (Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, etc), but by some reason are not readily available here. I prefer sour cherries to sweet cherries for fresh eating too, not just for cooking. They just have more flavor and when fully ripe thay have a good balance of sweet and sour taste.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:08PM
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I make a jam using 2 cups sweet cherries and 2 cups blueberries - it is really good, especially when you open a jar up in the middle of winter and can enjoy the summer harvest.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 2:26AM
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My favorite cherry is Ranier Cherries...yum, we can only get them the month of June and early July. I guess you all now know what my snacks have been this month!

I freeze grapes on a baking sheet then bag up for a popsickle snack. I wonder why I've never thought to do that with cherries? Brilliant!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 1:48PM
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RR. I also like the white Raniers and Queen Anne cherries. A double bonus is that the birds don't like them as well, so you don't have to fight for them.

I agree on the Michigan cherry crop, it was virtually destroyed this year. Sour cherries too, as well as apples, peaches, apricots, nectarines, pears and plums. Sigh. I usually pick them myself for $1 a pound but that won't be happening this year, I'll have to stock up on berries instead.

I can get dried cherries so cheaply most years that I don't bother to dry my own, but I love them for snacking. I do use some of the dark sweet cherries for jam and for baking, but they are sweeter and more bland than the bright red tart cherries, which are mostly Montmorency around here.

The dark sweet cherries are good in a summer torte and cobblers, and I usually can a batch of brandied cherries so I can make Ann T's cnady with them, it's Amanda's favorite.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 4:01PM
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