Run, don't walk, to your local farmer's market. Sour cherries aren't around for long.
In this society, we can enjoy virtually any food we want at any time. Instant gratification is now the norm, in food and in many other areas. But the fleeting appearance of ruby-red sour cherries reminds me of how important it is to pursue and to savor space around all experiences, culinary or otherwise. We bask, for example, in delicious anticipation, waiting for the sour cherries' arrival, licking our lips at the thought of succulent sour cherry pies, cobblers and preserves. Flash forward to the short-but-sweet sour cherry season: we are fully present, savoring each sweet-sour bite, partly because the cherries taste heavenly, and partly sparked by gratitude – knowing [ahem!] that they are only here for a short while.
Sour cherry season comes and goes in the blink of an eye. And since these cherries are highly perishable, chances are you won't find them at your local grocery store. I was lucky enough to score a quart of these thin-skinned beauties last week at the Fair Food Farmstand, located in the Reading Terminal Market. As their name suggests, sour cherries are a bit tart, so not everyone enjoys them raw. [I actually do.] Their texture is quite watery, somewhat reminiscent of watermelon, and the skin practically dissolves in your mouth.
Sour cherries are the quintessential ingredient used in cherry pies and cobblers. Their slightly sour flavor pairs so nicely with all the sugar and salt. Pitting the cherries for baking or ice cream is easy. Just take a toothpick or skewer and push out the pit.
Sour Cherry Vanilla Soy Ice Cream
I used a good portion of the cherries to make a batch of Sour Cherry Vanilla Soy Ice Cream.
Improvised Mixed Berry Cobbler
The rest ended up in an improvised mixed berry cobbler, made with sour cherries, blueberries and strawberries.
Sour Cherry One-Two Punch: Ice cream over cobbler
Being a hedonist, it didn't take me long to discover that the ice cream was the perfect topping for the cobbler.