“So we grew together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, But yet an union in partition.” – William Shakespeare

When Sweet Baboo and I moved from the big city, we bought a house that had trees in the backyard. I like trees. I like fruit trees even more and late that first summer I discovered the windfall in my backyard: four kinds of fruit awaited. Joy!

Cherries are wonderful. Bing cherries are fabulous; Rainier cherries superb; Evans cherries in the backyard are……SOUR AS GALL. Upon researching this vibrant red orb, I found that they are the cherry in the chocolate maraschino cherries that I love so much – how can this be? I will make those some day, but not today.

First, I must brave the hordes of mosquitoes to rescue the bounty:

evans on the tree

Licking my wounds, I charged into the house to wash the cherries.

The rainy summer meant that my Evans cherry tree only produced 1/5 its usual crop, but I'm thankful for a healthy tree that still made the effort.

The rainy summer meant that my Evans cherry tree only produced 1/5 its usual crop, but I’m thankful for a healthy tree that still made the effort.

Here’s one up close:

This is as close to a selfie as I will ever get, being a misanthropic recluse. Sweet Baboo assures me I don't look a day over 84. He's not so popular right now. (The acid in the cherries wrinkles your hands temporarily and I lose my fingerprints for a few days - weird but true.)

This is as close to a selfie as I will ever get, being a misanthropic recluse. Sweet Baboo assures me I don’t look a day over 84. He’s not so popular right now. (The acid in the cherries wrinkles your hands temporarily and I lose my fingerprints for a few days every time I pit Evans cherries – weird but true.)

The pitting didn’t take too long and we ended up with 7 two cup bags to throw in the freezer for cherry pies later on. You see, once I have done that much work to pick, clean, pit and bag them, NO ONE is eating them until I have forgotten how much labour they entailed.

All she wrote.

All she wrote.

The first year here, there was also a Nanking cherry in the backyard. It was sickly and died over the harsh winter. I was heartbroken until I found that two more were growing in its place! Thank you, God! While they mature, I want to try a Nanking cherry recipe that intrigued me: Maple Whiskey Nanking Barbeque Sauce. Here’s the link:

dinnerwithjulie.com/2011/08/16/grilled-ribs-nanking-cherry-recipe/

Sounds awesome – cherry based barbeque sauce – can’t wait!

I saved 8 cups of Evans cherries and bought a 50ml sampler bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey (the only place I like alcohol is cooked off in food).

Like the Barefoot Contessa, I follow a recipe exactly…..until I don’t. This causes Sweet Baboo endless consternation and slight panic before mealtime. After his age comment, too bad so sad. Here’s what I did:

  • The 8 cups of cherries and 1/2 cup of sugar went into a dutch oven to come to a simmer and then a boil. They came off the heat and were pulsed into submission with an immersion blender.
  • 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, 1tsp sea salt, 1/2 cup of maple syrup and the 50ml bottle of Jack Daniels were stirred in and the mixture was brought to a boil.
  • Lowered to a simmer, the last 1/2 cup of maple syrup was added.
  • The mixture was left bubbling on the stove for 1 hour on medium-low so that it could reduce by half. It needed to be stirred frequently.

I wasn’t so sure about it – it smelled really boozy and not at all sweet. When the mixture had reduced from 2.5 litres to 1 litre, it was the right consistency. As I jarred it, I took a timid taste – WOW! No wonder Julie says it is the best ever! It IS!

Ready to grill!

Ready to grill!

Now all I need are some ribs…

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