Back in 2011, while attending a regional GWA (Garden Writers Association) meeting in Chicago, I received a couple of small seedlings of a dwarf sour cherry shrub - 'Carmine Jewel'. Gurney's supplied them to us as part of the swag that we usually get when we attend such meetings.
I brought them home and planted them back near our apple trees. They didn't grow much the first couple of years and then those pesky wabbits chewed them off at the ground one winter. (Grrr... That's what I get for boasting about never having any rabbit issues.) I was certain they were both goners, but they came back from the roots - like gangbusters!
This year, I was taken aback when I saw how profusely both shrubs were blooming and I made plans for pies, cobbler, jelly... Once the cherries started turning red, I netted them so the birds didn't get to them before I did.
In the end, there weren't as many as I'd hoped there would be, but...
I haven't yet decided what I'm going to make (after I pit them...gah), but I think it might be this:
It seems that it's a common error among backyard gardeners to pick these cherries before they're completely ripe. They're nearly black when at their peak and will be quite a bit sweeter if you can be patient. I noticed a few cherries falling off the trees, so I started harvesting them - in error. They will still be fine to eat in recipes, but next year, I'll know to wait a little longer.