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A Cherry Treat

I’ve been thinking of cherries despite the tendency to think of strawberries this time of the year. Sweet cherries were the first fruit I picked at a farm. They were deep red and bursting with juice: I remember the farmer telling me to retain the stem when picking so the fruit doesn’t lose any drips of juice. This was many years ago at a farm in Maryland. I haven’t since picked sweet cherries at a farm; the closest I came to was a farm with cherry trees that unfortunately never seemed to bear fruit because of untimely weather.

The Virginia strawberry season in May does not share the spotlight with any other fruit, there are strawberries in May and June to open the fruit-picking season followed by cherries in June and July with some overlap between the two. But clearly the tree in front of my house had different ideas this year. While it has been filled with cherry blossoms the last two years I’ve seen it, it now bursts with bright red cherries, the atypical weather notwithstanding. I wasn’t convinced, however, until I picked one to taste, and sure enough, some not so red cherries included, they tasted very familiar. Lest I think this atypical behavior is limited to the tree in front of my house, the farm where I pick strawberries also co-advertised for cherries this year.


I hadn’t planned to pick bowls of cherries stepping out the front door much less work with them, but when life gives me cherries it seems easy to do something with them.

Here’s a simple method to prepare cherries:

After popping enough cherries in the mouth to sample, pit some bright red cherries using a cherry-pitter ensuring that any juice from the pitting process falls right into a collecting bowl. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the pitted cherries and then macerate them with some sugar to extract the juice. Reduce the cherry juice to a syrup, add some kirsch or cognac and then pour over the cherries. Serve with some lightly whipped unsweetened cream and a few slices of toasted almonds.

Preserved sweet cherries





















Fresh cherries were a luxury when growing-up in India; preserved in tin cans they were still called fresh cherries to distinguish them from the more abundantly available candied versions. When a can of fresh cherries were opened they ended up entirely in a recipe, so the few that escaped into my mouth on rare occasions were quite a treat just as much a treat as it was to see cherries dot the tree in front of my house in mid-May.

6 thoughts on “A Cherry Treat

  1. carrie gallagher


    I grew up with a lovely single cherry tree on our property. There would be about two pickings before the fruiting season ended and each time we enjoyed one very large and lumpy big cherry pie. My childhood memory is that this was mid summer and remember that was in northern Illinois, near the WI border.

    My mother always cautioned us on picking wild cherries saying that they are bitter and meant for the birds 😉. And so I cannot say why your tree is now fruiting except that your sent its message, and it responded ...... Enjoy.


    1. Bala


      "...your sent its message and it responded,"
      how beautiful a thought to picturize. Thank you. And thank you for sharing your childhood memory, "Lumpy big cherry pie" sounds wonderful!

  2. Bala

    Facebook comment from reader, Ms. Vedula:
    What a wonderful blog on cherries. Thank you Bala. We were first introduced to cherries in the early sixties when my father, an army officer was posted in the Jammu & Kashmir area. We would get them in rectangular wooden boxes filled with the dark red, almost black cherries. I especially loved the really large ones because they were so juicy and sweet. We ate bowlfuls of them. In Kashmir I remember seeing the trees laden with cherries and how beautiful they looked - bright red cherries surrounded by green leaves.

    1. Bala

      Your comment reminded me of the landscape and songs in "Kashmir Ki Kali" so much so I watched the video of the songs again. I envy your childhood cherry memories. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Jyothi Thomas

    Absolutely interesting to read yummy , Bala, the picture and the words perfect blend to make me want to try it out. So beautiful written " and then macerate them with some sugar to extract the juice." shows to handle the process of preparation wow !

    Thank God we cherries now in India well how juicy umm ? well it is available. Your writing is like a story and very nostalgic . Love the "Cherry Tree" by your door step. I was humming the song, " lemon tree very pretty", just switched the words to Cherry Tree, but the fruit of the cherry tree is just impossible NOT TO EAT ! For me food goes with song and moments . Thank you.

    1. Bala

      Thank you, Mrs. Thomas. I enjoy the "Lemon tree very pretty" song and remember lot's of family singing it aloud. Now, thanks to you, I'm going to start humming it with the cherries to replace lemons. I'm also going to try to remember your preference for songs with food when we get an opportunity to eat together; it sounds like fun!

      On a related note, I replied to another person's comment about their childhood cherry memories in Kashmir in the sixties, saying that it reminded me of the songs in the movie "Kashmir Ki Kali".


I look forward to reading your thoughts...

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