It's cherry and strawberry picking time again. This year I made it out to Jucker Farm to pick some myself. I know it's been said millions of times, but just-picked fruit has no comparison. It tastes like food. While the strawberry picking was quite labor intensive (especially bending over with my 8mo. pregnant belly), I couldn't have been happier picking the cherries. It was cool and relaxing under the cherry trees, perfect for fantasizing about that mythical romantic farm life, full of lovely moments like this - eating juicy cherries right off the tree with my son, cherry juice dripping down our faces and fingers.
I wasn't quite sure what I'd do with all these cherries but I just couldn't stop picking. My two kilos of strawberries were fading fast (the next day some were already moldy), so I had to start working that night to make the effort worth it. I didn't have a cherry pitting machine so I spent almost 2 hours manually pitting them with a pastry tip (a very effective tool, albeit slow). I have my stained fingers and clothes to prove it.
I used 16 cups worth to make cherry preserves (yielding about 8 cups). I used another 2 cups to make cherry sorbet, which I liked, but my husband thinks tastes vaguely of fish (?). Of course, I also had to make tarts with my favorite fraisage pastry dough. Instead of one big tart, I made four small ones, which is much cuter and easier to serve. The cherry one was fine but the strawberry one was divine! The trick is: use way more sugar than you think you need. I'm always worried it will overpower the fruit, but it never does.