This year, we had our first cherry harvest from the two 'Carmine Jewel' dwarf cherry shrubs we have. I'd gotten two seedlings from Gurney's at a regional GWA (Garden Writers Association) meeting in 2011, and after being gnawed to the ground one winter by rabbits, they came back like gangbusters.
I had my first experience at pitting cherries and I can tell you it was more fun than shelling peas. I don't enjoy shelling peas, which is why I no longer grow them, but pitting the cherries was another one of those tasks that you can do without thinking. Or you can think about the pie or cobbler or liqueur that those cherries will become.
There are several ways to pit cherries if you don't have a proper cherry pitter. I opted to use a straw - a stainless steel straw, which I knew would hold up well. I simply put the end of the straw at the stem end and pushed the pit out the other end. Don't wear a white shirt while doing this, although it doesn't seem to cause a permanent stain if you wash it right away.
The harvest yielded 207 cherries, which was about a pint of cherries, weighing ¾ of a pound after pitting. That wasn't quite as many as the recipe I used them in called for, but it was enough. And it was good.
I pretty much followed this recipe found on The Kitchn:
For the cherries:
1 pound tart cherries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger, optional (I didn't use this)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
For the crumble:
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup flour
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten well
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the beaten egg and use your hands to combine the dry ingredients and egg. As you work the egg into the flour, it will form small moist crumbs. Sprinkle these over the cherries, then drizzle the browned butter over the topping.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is browned and the cherries are bubbling. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or unsweetened whipped cream.
|I'd make it again.|
This is a dwarf shrub-type of tart or sour cherry. It is suitable for growing in Zones 3a to 8b, in sun to part-shade. It prefers neutral to alkaline soil, but is adaptable to most soil types, including heavy clay.
Developed at The University of Saskatchewan (Canada) and introduced in 1999, this black cherry is consistently highly productive, with a high fruit-to-pit ratio.
Field notes on 'Carmine Jewel'
*I received these cherry plants as seedlings from Gurney's in 2011, free of charge. I have not received any other compensation for writing about them.