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Here we are… just a few days away from being at the height of our cherry picking season! We are growing Rainier cherries which are one of the sweetest, prettiest and most pampered of cherries grown and my pooched out tummy confirms that. (oy-vey, why did I eat that last pound! lol) I have decided that when I grow up I want to be a pomologist, which is a person who studies fruits and nuts. I will pick them, study them and eat them! Seems like an easy profession to me. So lets start our education…
We must be able to first identify them… Rainier’s have a creamy-yellow flesh, which gives the blush of the skin a sunny undertone, kissed by the sun. The Rainier is a cross between a Bing and a Van — two sweet-red varieties. Harold Fogle, who at the time directed the cherry breeding program at the Washington State University extension station in Prosser, made the cross in 1952. The variety was released in 1960. The mother tree still lives on a WSU plot five miles from the station. (I am sensing a road trip in my future :)
Class over… LETS EAT!
It has been amazing to watch the cherry trees go from bare branches, to gorgeous flower blossoms, to sweet little edible jewels! Hold on, let me rummage through my photos, I know I have a picture somewhere. OK, found it!
Whether you pick you cherries right from the branch or from a grocery store branch… you want to select ones that are firm, plump, and deep in color. Avoid bruised or split cherries. Scars and discolored spots are a sign that the cherry is especially sweet. Once you get them home, hole them up in the refrigerator for up to a week. Wash only when ready to eat. Water can cause them to soften and split and when this happens they are more susceptible to mold.
Rinse the cherries with cool water, and remove stems. If you have a lot of cherries, this is a good activity to do with a partner or two. If you’re alone, don’t be alarmed if you start talking to yourself. If you start answering yourself, well, then that is another story. :) This is a good time to listen to the radio, talk on a headset, watch television, or enjoy the meditative nature of a quiet, repetitive task. I use this one, if your curious. Works quite well.
If you don’t have a cherry pitter you can still easily do this task.
Use a toothpick, un-bent paper clip, and insert into the stem-end of the cherry. You should feel it hit the pit. Twist your implement of choice around the pit and pop it out. It will take you a few cherries to get the feel of it. Set the pit aside and eat the cherry. WAIT! I guess if you want to make this recipe, you will need to restrain yourself a bit. That or buy some extras for “trial and error”. Yea, yea that’s the ticket… trial and error!
Position cherry upside down on the top of the beer bottle. Aim for the tiny mark on the bottom left by the flower. Using a chopstick, poke a hole right through the top of the cherry into the bottle. The pit should fall into the bottle and the cherry remain intact.
yields 3 cups