Then we rented a cherry tree. Yup, we paid $45 for the sole rights to harvest the crop of this year’s cherries from a single tree in a u-pick orchard in nearby Cove, Oregon.
This is the second year we’ve been renters and we got the same tree. If not propriety, I felt a familiarity to its stout trunk as we dropped our picking buckets around it. I recognized the geography of its branches as I set the orchard ladder, and I knew this tallest ladder would allow me to pluck every last cherry from the tree’s full height.
This year was not a bumper crop like last when we harvested close to 150 pounds (sorry friends). But 45 pounds of Lamberts is still a lot to pit and store. What stunned me was how quickly we all stopped gorging on them post harvest. The girls haven’t eaten any in days, and I find myself passing them over when looking for a cool snack during these dog days.
And now, I need to capture them in some form before they begin to mold from the inside out. Frozen, dried, preserves–we still have all of them from last year’s bonanza.
So this year, I’ve decided to juice them. Cherry soda was the route I was heading until I had a full quart of thick blood-red cherry juice. I remembered my favorite summer treat on childhood trips to Dairy Queen. I sucked down those electric green and blue slushies until my tongue was stiff with cold.
How much better would they be with real, organically grown fruit? Yes, way. For a twist, I added some amaretto to the cherry juice and ice, thinking that summertime needs a good after dinner drink.
Happy August indeed!
Cherry Amaretto Slushy
Inspired by another cherry recipe I created, this Cherry Amaretto Slushy is it for me. For a non-alcoholic version, you can substitute almond extract, but start with 1 teaspoon and increase it carefully since it can quickly overpower, not merely complement, the cherriness we’re celebrating here.
Makes 2 12-ounce drinks
1 cup fresh sweet cherry juice (ideally from pitted, juiced cherries)
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
3 cups ice
1. Combine the cherry juice and amaretto in a blender. Add the ice 1 cup at a time and blend until very smooth. Serve immediately in tall glasses with straws.