Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day & A Recipe (of sorts)

We bought a house early last year with an almost-but-not-quite dead cherry tree in the back yard.  It produced an abundance of spring blossoms but no fruit last summer, and we decided it's sad, diseased self had to go.  Plans were made, a chainsaw was borrowed, and on Mother's Day of this year, we set out to put it out of its misery.  At which point I noticed that it was LOADED with fruit. 

Now, I have a neighbor who felt no compunction about ripping out his weed-choked lilacs two weeks before they were in full bloom, but I could not justify killing off that dying tree right before its cherries ripened.  So it sat for a few more weeks.  Wednesday I picked a few cherries, and they were ripe and lovely.  But dying is dying, so we cut down the cherry tree, and I harvested its lovely swan song sour cherries.

I wanted to take some pictures of the summer sun shining through beautiful carmine cherries nestled among emerald leaves, but I couldn't find my camera.  Which is probably just as well.  It's a cheap little point-and-click, so it wouldn't do justice to the effect.  And then I'd get frustrated, and you'd end up being subjected to lousy pictures anyway.  Someday I shall invest in a DSLR.  But not today, friends, not today.

Also, we figured out why the tree was dying!  Carpenter ants had eaten a big tunnel straight up through the trunk, and presumably down into the roots as well.  At least it wasn't some contagious fungus or something, because we've got both a bing cherry in the backyard and some nanking cherries in the front, and we would hate to have all of those die.

On to the recipe, which isn't really a recipe, it's more like a technique.  Or not even really a technique.  Realistically, it's an idea about food.  But isn't that better than a mere recipe?  (No.)

Cherry Bounce

Pit a bucket full of sour cherries from your poor chopped off tree. Literally, an ice cream bucket is good.  Otherwise, use a plastic bowl.  Or some glass canning jars. 
Cover the cherries with vodka.  You could use something else, but it will end up mostly tasting like cherries, and vodka is cheap.
Pour in some sugar.  It's easier to add more than to take some out, but the sugar helps as a preservative (due to cell osmosis!  I learned something in science class!), so don't be too skimpy.  Maybe a 1/4 cup per cup of cherries would do the trick.  But if you like your booze sweet, go crazy.
Stir everything together and stick it in the fridge.
Stir every day or two for a week or so, and then stuff it all the way back so that it can sit happily while you go on about your life. 
When you discover the cherries again in a month or two, they will be amazing.  The liquid is still mostly vodka, so don't feed it to small children or eat an entire jar by yourself.  Mix your cherry bounce with soda (7up or coke sound great) or pour it over dessert (vanilla ice cream or chocolate cake sound amazing).
Enjoy until you run out in the dead of winter.  Think about June when you can get your hands on some sour cherries again.

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