About 7 years ago my husband, Luigi, hung a tree swing for me in a cherry tree – right at the edge of our uliveto (olive grove). I love that swing! It’s one of my favorite spots – like a little retreat – where I can swing and swing and swing, and meditate on the green forests and open pastures that share the valley below our house in Umbria.
This year my beloved cherry tree – and 2 others – are spilling over with (you guessed it) cherries! So we’ve started to harvest.
One of the trees is a wild cherry – at least that’s what our friends and neighbors have told us. The cherries are smaller, yellowish pink when ripe, and oh-so-delicious. But we don’t even try to preserve them. They’re very delicate (and nearby impossible to pit) so we’ve found it’s best to just eat them fresh – right off the tree. 🙂
The other 2 trees seem to be Bing Cherry – or something similar – and in past years I may have been talked into making cherry preserves. But the truth is, Luigi and I don’t really like preserves – or marmalades or jellies – and we avoid eating sugar. So that leaves us with the fresh-frozen approach – yah!
- Rinse fresh, ripe cherries and dry them on paper towels.
- Pit them (There are many easy to use cherry pitters available!) and place on a cookie sheet or other flat pan.
- Place the pan in the freezer for several hours – or overnight – until the cherries are completely frozen.
- Remove the frozen cherries and transfer to freezer bags.
We love using frozen cherries in healthy shakes, and of course you can thaw them and toss a few into your oatmeal or use in baked recipes. Delicious!
Pamela Haack is an Italy travel consultant and author of Off the Beaten Strada: Top 10 Favorite Etruscan Sites. She specializes in creating group trips and personalized experiences for travelers who enjoy active vacations in Italy – off the beaten strada.
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