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  • Annemarie Bolduc

Merry Cherries

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

In the Snowys, cherries are the favourite festive fruit, in season just before Xmas celebrations.

Freshly picked cherries and holly leaves from the backyard • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021

Every early summer (which is in December in the Southern hemisphere) we are looking forward to our local cherries! The most stable cherry production in Canada is in British Columbia. The Okanagan Valley has ideal conditions to grow the most popular varieties of dark red fleshy sweet cherries like the heart-shaped "Bing". Going picking cherries "in the west" is what many young Québécois do as a summer job and first backpacking experience. I did it too... but I was not such a quick picker and did not like climbing in high ladders. Years later, when I moved to Australia, I "enrolled" to do some apple thinning in Batlow but ended up back in the cherry orchard (as cherry picking and sorting had to be done first). Unfortunately, I was still hopeless at it, and my back could not handle the repetitive work of picking or sorting at the packing house. But I still had a great time with the lovely people we met and ate lots of cherries.


Batlow farmed cherries • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2018


When the cherry season starts in Australia, that means Xmas holidays are not too far away. Timing could not be more perfect than that, as these dark red jewels are a perfect treat for summer and everyone loves them. Cherries make a lovely edible ornamental display, making stunning additions to a grazing platter and on top of the iconic pavlovas, along with strawberries and berries, also in season. I don't like cooking with them so much as I am lazy for pitting them. We just eat them like that, like potato chips without guilt… well, with some limits of course as cherries can have some unwanted side effects if you eat too many... Cherries are packed with nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins so they are a good sweet snack with benefits. They are an early summer stone fruit, in season for only a few weeks so we are very lucky to enjoy them during the holidays. They contribute to bringing some magic as a substitute for the things I always miss at this time of the year.


Cherry magic • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020-21


GROWING & COOKING TIPS

Our tree is still small as it was planted only a few years ago, but picking and eating your homegrown cherries is just amazing! Cherry trees make a stunning show in spring blossoming and I planted our "Lapin" tree just in front of the house so I can look at it from my studio room window. While it's fruiting we have to net it to protect the fruits from the cheeky birds. Each year I do a little hose battle with the cherry slugs as they are eating the leaves. This common pest is not easy to get rid of organically, but wood ash, diatomaceous earth and dolomite lime can also help against them. Cherry trees grow in temperate-latitude conditions and the cold weather time requirements depend on each variety to produce a crop of fruit. There are heaps of recipes to make with cherries like pies, cakes, crumble, sauce, cordial and preserves but we end up eating them fresh most of the time as the seasons go so quickly! I don't give cherries to my chickens as the hard shell pit contains toxic compound, this is why it has to be removed to be cooked. I will surely explore more recipes with cherries, meanwhile, hope you enjoy a Cherry Christmas!



Check out related posts, recipes and inspirations:

#batlowapples #blackberryraspberries

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