Monday, July 7, 2014

3 Things to Make With Tart Cherries

Our nice neighbors told my parents they could come pick some cherries at their farm. They picked two big baskets full, which didn't seem like much until we had to do something with them all...

We have a nice dehydrator and decided to put it to use. The first thing we made was simply dried tart cherries. We split them in half with the knife, took the pit out, and laid them out on the racks. It took us an hour to do two racks. And for some reason we started at 10 pm, not the best decision. And is it me or is anyone else depressed after drying so much fruit and then it comes out to be just a few handfuls worth?

Since the dehydrator was out, fruit leather was next on the list. I made three kinds, plain tart cherry, strawberry-cherry, and tart cherry chocolate. For the latter, I took three cups of (pitted)  cherries, 2 T. of cocoa powder, and 1 T. sugar; put it in the food processor, and then spread it out on some parchment paper on the drying racks. I dried them for about 6 hours, but checked often as I've learned fruit leather is something to keep an eye on so it doesn't get too crunchy. The results were sour, but the kids really like it!

Last, I made a tart cherry simple syrup. You start off making a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) and then simmer in fruit to make it flavored. I used 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar, heated in a pan until the sugar dissolved. Then I dumped in 3 cups of pitted cherries and simmered for about 20 minutes. After straining the the liquid, I was left with this bright red goodness. We used the syrup on waffles, in iced tea, and Tyler even added some to his Coke. Mason kept asking for me to flavor his water with some, too. This was my favorite thing we made with the cherries, also the quickest and easiest.

The cherry trees are done for the year, but now we know what to make next time.

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Do you like tart cherries? What do you use them for?