Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Jubilee of Cherries

One of the things I both love and hate about Iasi is that you get fruit and vegetables (mostly) only in its (local) season. Of course as an American I'm used to walking into the grocery store and seeing most fruits and vegetables year-round. Oranges in summer. Strawberries in winter. Mangoes anytime in the north east US of A. And as with so many other things about America, that's really convenient. And nice. But when you think about it (which I never really did), it's pretty sketcharoo. What do they have to DO to those mangoes from Brazil to get them all the way to New York without molding? Probably nothing that involves anything environmentally or digestively friendly. Right. So while I sometimes hate that I can't get blueberries here BECAUSE THEY AREN'T GROWN IN THIS COUNTRY, I do appreciate that the produce I eat is fresh. Really fresh. And this is what I love. 

This situation also means that there is either feast or famine of a given fruit or vegetable. When it's in season, you see it everywhere; when it's out of season, you see it nowhere. Thus, in May we have strawberries. In June we have cherries. In July we have melons. And so on. Since cherries are very near and dear to my heart at this moment, I will share of the bounty. Dave and Erin have one enormous sweet cherry tree and two (three?) pie cherry trees in their yard. Even with all of our team picking for a few hours most days for a few weeks and inviting anyone we know to come pick if they want, it is impossible to exhaust the supply. There are just so many. Its incredible. 

Last year I mostly just ate them off the tree when I went over; I didn't really freeze or can anything. The whole idea of pitting and deworming so many cherries seemed daunting. Need I mention inefficient? But because they are so so good, because I'm way less concerned with efficiency after living 1.5 years in eastern Europe and because they come at the remarkable price of free, I thought I would give it a go this year. I probably spent about 15 hours between picking and pitting, and I got about 20 cups of frozen cherries out of it, two-thirds of which was sweet cherries. Kind of crazy, I know, but definitely fun to do with friends, especially when the weather outside is nice. And now I'm well supplied for cobblers, pies, tarts, smoothies, and muffins! 

Sweet cherry pitting process- unpitted on the left, pits in the middle, and pitted on the right, waiting to be checked for worms and cut in half

And the sour/pie cherries. I picked a lot all at once and just pitted furiously. They're considerably smaller than the other ones, and so it seems like there is so little yield for the effort. But when a warm bite of cherry pie enters my mouth, I guarantee it will taste better than any cherry pie I've ever eaten simply because I'll know how much effort it took to make


T. E. said...

If you can't find blueberries you could try bilberries, which do grow in Romania (they're called "afine").

preethi said...

So so jealous. I LOVE cherries. And in DC, where they are probably imported from Romania, they cost about 80,000x what you paid.