rented a cherry tree. Unfortunately, until this year we hadn't had the chance to get down to pick the cherries - the first year was a nightmare of a harvest and not worth schlepping to Kent for, and last year I was in Australia. This year, we also missed the opportunity to go down when the blossoms were out. We're not very good at this cherry rental business.
This summer, we were determined.
We collected some fairly shallow boxes (you can't pack them too deep or they bruise) and set off. And then got stuck in traffic. We stopped for a pub lunch and a badly-needed loo-break, so we arrived a little later than planned. I'd been imagining something that looked like this, which made the reality faintly disappointing. On the other hand, it meant we could reach the top of the tree without ladders and two of us could pick the fruit without too much difficulty.
It was hot (Paul's choice of long sleeves was baffling to me) and quite hard work, so we cherry-picked (boom boom) only the best of the fruit. There was a lot of it.
Having been tortured at high school with Seamus Heaney's Blackberry Picking, I knew I couldn't take a leisurely approach:
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.
Cherry wine, cherries in alcohol, cherries in syrup, cherry pies, cherry cakes, glacé cherries, pickled cherries, frozen cherries, fresh cherries in salad, fresh cherries handed out to friends, fresh cherries eaten by the handful, cherry mincemeat for Christmas, savoury cherry jam and sweet cherry jam.
|Diana Henry's Cerise au vinaigre - a sweet sour pickled cherry, perfect with smoked duck, saucisson and rillettes|
|The red-wine soaked cherries from Diana Henry's Guignolet, served with fudgy yoghurt cream|
|Cherry pie - made from this filling recipe. Froze three pies, baked one for Paul to take to work|
|Upside down chocolate cherry cake - sadly this was wasted when I couldn't get anyone to take it|
|Cherry and cinnamon jam|
|Cherry Bakewell with boozy cherries and cherry jam - ate one, froze one|
|Boozy cherry choc chip ice cream - haven't tasted this yet|
|Diana Henry's cherry and goats cheese salad with almond and basil gremolata|
|Great Wall of cherry preserves|