As I type these words I feel guilty because I’m grateful my friend wants to share, grateful for the bounty of the harvest—all that nature has to offer. But there’s something about cherries, so small, so labor intensive, so boring. Utter tedium! Cherries are nothing like my personal favorite, apples, where you don’t have to drop everything--you can plan a day to pick apples once they are ripe. Nothing like apples where just six equals a pie. Hundreds of cherries (and it feels like thousands) equals a pie. That’s one whole quart, four whole cups, of cherries. Apple season starts the cool, pleasant, 60-degree autumn temperatures. Cherry season starts the long, hot 100-degree summer temperatures. Apple season represents sweater weather and football games and new clothes for school. Cherry season represents embarrassing swimsuit weather and sunburns and sweat.
Did I mention that my husband Steve loves cherries? So it’s for him that I am willing to change my plans, lovingly devote hours of my day, and try to smile. Once the process is over, we have a freezer with a few containers of cherries ready to use. That’s when I can breathe easy. We’re good for a whole year.
Following is my favorite cherry crisp recipe. Easier than a pie and great with vanilla ice cream—perfect for July 4th.
Fresh Cherry Crisp
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2 cups pitted fresh tart red cherries
⅓ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon almond extract
In a medium-sized bowl, mix topping ingredients
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup 1-minute or rolled oats
⅓ cup butter or margarine
Pour topping over fruit mixture.