Christmas in August

Last week, I went up to Green Bluff in search of Apricots. I am one of those rare people who LOVES apricots. I love them out of hand, and I love them in jam and whatever else I can think of. So every year, I make some version of apricot jam, often mixed with some other seasonal fruit (Apricot-Raspberry and Apricot-Orange were past successes). 

Returning from the apricot farm, my warm fuzzy globes of goodness riding in the trunk, and I pass…what’s this…a sign for cherries? I thought cherry season was over. I stop, talk to the short man with graying hair and a braid in his beard (insert reference to Lord of the Rings here), and ask if they have pie cherries. Sure, he says. There are a couple of big trees behind the house.

I wind my way past the farm implements half buried in weeds and bags of, for the benefit of the doubt we’ll say recycling, and there, looking like a Christmas tree in August, is a loaded pie cherry tree that no one has touched. Whoo hoo! I pick about 5 lbs of cherries, while being serenaded by someone in the house playing guitar. Imagine Bela Fleck warming up with a hang over, but with quite a bit less talent. Sort of a directionless jazz riff, with a kick drum thrown in for good measure. But it doesn’t matter. Because there are lots and lots of cherries!

Home with my prize, it now turns out I CAN make a cherry pie. And dry a few extra as well.

Cherry Spritzer.

After pitting the cherries I rinsed them a second time (the “recycling” had me a bit spooked). I throw them in a pot with sugar and corn starch, following a Ball Blue Book recipe. Come to realize that there was probably a bit more water on/in the cherries than anticipated, and I had a lot of corn starch thickened juice left over once I had strained off and frozen the cherry pie filling.

Hmmmm. Bet this would make a tasty cherry spritzer (cherry juice and club soda). Or a killer cherry margarita (confirmed later in the week with the husband. We just let the cherry juice stand in for the triple sec).

I also make a batch of Sour Cherry-Apricot jam, which might be a new favorite. Life, as they say, is good.

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