life is just a bowl of cherries

Pickled cherries to be exact. Strange, I know, but pretty yummy.

bowl of cherriesI really had no idea that you could pickle cherries. I haven’t even known for that long that you could pickle things other than cucumbers. But it’s cherry season and I had a large quantity of cherries on my hands and I wasn’t up for making a pie– actually, I wasn’t keen on having to pit so many cherries– so, off to the internets to find something to make with all this fruit!

pickled cherries

Ergo, pickled cherries. I just so happened to have all the ingredients in my pantry for this recipe.

Pickled Cherries

2 lbs sweet or sour cherries, stems and pits intact
3 cups (24 fl. oz.) red wine vinegar (ok, I used cider vinegar)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
3 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
3 pieces of star anise
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

  1. With a small fork or a toothpick, puncture each cherry 5-6 times to allow the pickling juice to penetrate the fruit. Place the cherries into a glass jar.
  2. In a medium pot, mix together the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to 1/3 of its original volume. Remove the pot from heat and let the pickling liquid cool down for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the liquid over the cherries in the jar. If the cherries are not fully submerged, that’s okay. In a few hours, they will release more juice into the pickling liquid. Let the cherries cool down completely before closing the lid.
  4. Keep the pickled cherries in the seal jar in the refrigerator. To prolong the life of the pickled cherries, use a clean spoon every time you dig into the cherry jar. The pickled cherries, refrigerated, will keep up to one month. Keep in mind that the longer they keep, the more wrinkly and the more pale they will become.

I really had no idea what to expect, but the brine alone smells amazing. Pickled cherries are sweet, but spicy with a bit of a sour punch. I’ll have to think of some ways of eating them other than straight outta the jar… pickled cherries, who knew?

nature's candy

 

 

six cherry tomatoes

six cherry tomatoes

A number of people (internet and otherwise) have been mentioning what a transition month August really is. It doesn’t quite hold the sparkle or potential of Summer (with a capital S) the way July does. Our attentions have turned to going back to our ordinary, non-summer lives.  But there is a certain charm to August, my tomato plants have finally started producing a decent crop (there were more than the six above), it’s cool enough for a good hike or an evening beside the fire pit. Summer is great, don’t get me wrong, it is full of surprises (fun!), but at a sometimes irregular and unexpected rate (eek!). I’m actually looking forward to the pace, and creature comforts of autumn. Perhaps that makes me a control freak, but by August I start to crave the predictable regularity of the academic calendar.

slippery slope

toes afloat

It’s still summer, but we’ve hit that slope into autumn where we’re running out of those longer days and the morning air begins to feel crisp and cool. It was so hot here this summer that the cooler temps are quite a welcome change, but I hate letting go of the summer, don’t you? There’s so much I haven’t done yet this summer, like I never quite made it to the farmer’s market, had a real beach day, gone camping, or to the Cape… but it’s not over and there’s a lot I have done already! And most importantly, this is has been one of my most creatively productive summers.

If you are longing to hold onto summer a little longer too, come and see What I Did On My Summer Vacation a juried exhibition at Panopticon Gallery curated by: Jim Fitts, collector and editor of PhotoWeenie.com and Anne DeVito, co-owner of Panopticon Gallery. This exhibition will be on display in the Private Room at Panopticon Gallery from September 12 – January 14, 2014. Tell all of your New England friends, I have a piece in the show and the opening is September 12th!