Nanking Cherries and 'The art of pitting and using in recipes'
Jul. 15, 2012 1:37 pm
Of course I googled prior to pitting my newly picked nanking cherries, and I found little to help me on my way. In fact, I was fortunate to find a cake recipe to use them with, but from reading I guess you can use these small cherries in pies, jellies,
candies and even to create an extract. Right now I am experimenting with make the cake recipe.
My first challenge is to remove the pulp from the pits. If it wasn't for the fact these little cherries were so flavorful and grow abundantly on our property, I probably wouldn't put myself through this work. Here is what I am doing.
1. Wash the cherries. I find placing them in a small 4X4X3 plastic container that a frozen desert came in, I am able to swish them around in water, which allows tiny stems and what-nots float to the top. It's fairly easy to drain off the litter and continue
rinsing in the same fashion until the water is clear.
2. I put the cherries into a medium size pot with about 1 cup of water and simmer.
3. When the cherries are very soft, I take them to the counter and remove them with a slotted spoon, putting them into a strainer with a handle. I rest the strainer on a larger pot and swirl the cherries inside the strainer. I use the spoon to gently push
the cherries down, forcing pulp on the bottom of the strainer to appear. I then tap the strainer on the top of the larger pot and this shakes the pulp inside the bigger pot. Repeat until the pits are just about clean of pulp.
Once this is all accomplished, I place the pulp with juices from the original cooking pot, into a canning jar. This goes into the refrigerator and is ready when needed for recipes. I am seeing that a thickening agent, such as cornstarch, is called for in
many of the recipes.
Here is a cute story that goes with these cherries. My husband and I bought this little place as a retirement home in 2008, We downsized from a large home and bought one with less rooms and land. However, we still grow our own garden and have planted dwarf
and semi-dwarf fruit trees. The first year living here, we noticed two large bushes covered in red berries. Neither of us were familiar with them and planned to take a sample to our local nursery for identification purposes.
We had just returned home from doing some errands and noticed that our bush was now bare from the cherries. We supposed birds got them and were naive as to what really happened. It wasn't long after that I visited our senior Mormon lady neighbor across the
street. She and I were talking and I mentioned the birds suddenly wiping our berry bush clean. She said, "You know, those are cherries and they are very good." I knew immediately what had happened to our cherries for this little woman was an avid preserver.
She often told how she had taken care of our place and the old man living in the home until he passed away, She had also said to me earlier that spring, "You know, I always take a bunch of lilacs from their bushes for my home each spring." So, it's our little
joke, my husbands and mines, when we say.. a little birdie took our cherries. :)
Our neighbor is gone now, she passed away with ovarian cancer. She was a kick! And we miss her especially around cherry picking season.
Nanking Cherries in Strainer
Nanking Cherry Juice