Cherry Pickin’ Is the Pits
This week my friends Beth and Frank sent me homegrown cherries. They were able to get to them this year before the Japanese Beatles did. The haul—3,600 cherries from a single tree! Which means 3,600 cherry pits!
With so few cherries from my stingy, little fruit tree, I can get by using a plastic straw to pit cherries. But Frank went for a real implement designed for the task. Beth packaged the pitted cherries in freezer bags, two cups each, just right for a pie.
As you recall, the test of an Early American housewife was set to music in the old folk tune: “Can she bake a cherry pie. Billy Boy?” The answer being, “She can bake a cherry pie quick as a cat can wink it’s eye.” Sounds like Beth measures up.
Be Careful What You Wish
“I wish you lived closer, so I could share some of these frozen cherries with you,” Beth wrote. I immediately replied, “Not to worry, Cyndy (who live in Columbia) will stop by and pick them up on her way to St. Louis.” And she did. Beth even gifted her with cherries.
Emerson Was Right
“The only true gift is a portion of thyself,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. When I’m gifted with homegrown or handmade items, I realize I’ve received something money can’t buy. A portion of self has gone into the gift.
Several months ago, my neighbor, Steve, gave us a cooler of beef from cattle he’d raised himself. My nephew, Bob, and his wife, Peggy, bring me fresh vegetables from their garden and canned pickles. Lucy and Robert often show up with wine and flowers and spend hours making my flower beds fit. My friends in Jefferson City provide me homemade masks and cakes.
Cyndy brings home baked cookies and desserts. Paul and Martha bring me handcrafted breads, jellies, masks, and pot scrubbers. Sam shares placemats he’s hand loomed. Michael and Inda recently let us pick baby kale from their farm garden. Anne-Sophie gives me food treats from France, her homeland.
How wonderful to have so many friends who share!
I am blessed.
Beth’s Cherry Pie
- 4 cups fresh or frozen tart cherries
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 Tbs. cornstarch
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp. almond extract
If using fresh cherries, pit the cherries. Add fruit to a mixing bowl along with the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Toss to combine. If using frozen cherries, be sure to slowly cook the mixture on low heat to reduce e the water. Set aside while you prepare the pie crust or use store bought crust.
Pour the mixture into crust. Pinch the edges of the top and bottom crust together and crimp the edge. Or make a latticework of crust atop the pie. Brush a thin layer of beaten egg white over the top of the crust and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes for homemade crust. Or 400 degrees for 45 minutes, if using store bought crust (or follow directions on package). It’s always a good idea to cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil when you put it in the oven. Then uncover the last 10-15 minutes of baking.
If making you own crust: Combine 2 cups flour with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut in 1 cup lard or Crisco shortening (or a combination of shortening and cold butter). Sloooowly add 1/4 cup ice water, one teaspoon at a time. (“Patience, grasshopper.”) Divide dough and roll out on floured surface to form 2 crusts.