Tag Archives: cherries

The Zen & Forrest Gump of cherry picking…

I’ve now picked another 2 kg of cherries today – that makes 5 in total between us. I had a lightning strike of zen – or a Forrest Gump moment if you’re less philosophical. Cherry picking, it seems, has many things to teach us about life…

  • You have to go out there and do it… if you just sit around waiting, all you’re going to get ar things the birds don’t want, mouldy ones or ones that are not ripe yet. Such is life. If you sit around waiting for good stuff to fall into your lap, you’re going to be sadly disappointed.
  • You can sometimes go all out to get one perfect cherry. Sometimes, it’s out of reach. Sometimes, you get to the perfect one after a lot of exertion and dangerous escapades and it’s rotten when you grab it.
  • Sometimes, you can be so busy trying to get the perfect one just out of reach that you fall off the ladder.
  • Sometimes, you can be so busy trying to get the perfect one just out of reach that you inadvertently trample on the ones you’ve already picked.
  • It’s easy to forget about the 2 kilos you’ve already picked when one catches your eye.
  • You can’t spend all your time looking down on the ground. All you’ll find are stones. You need to look up and seize them.
  • You can’t spend all your time looking up – the sun will blind you and bits of the tree will fall in your eye.
  • Sometimes the best ones are just behind you… you just need to move a little bit to see them.
  • It’s nicer if you can do it with friends and family
  • It’s fabulous if you can enjoy the growing and the picking as well as the eating
  • Some people don’t have big cherry trees in their life. They might only have a patch of dirt. You’ve got to remember to pass them some of your cherries and be thankful that you didn’t get Brussels sprouts.
  • You have to remember, you can’t make raspberry ripple ice-cream out of cherries. You have to work with what you’ve been given and not spend all your time wishing you had something else. If you did get Brussels sprouts, you’re either going to have to learn to love them, or buy a cherry tree. Or move.
  • It takes time, patience and luck. And even then, you can have a crap harvest and it’s nothing to do with you.
  • Some years, you get lots. Some years you don’t.
  • Some of the best things are inherited.
  • You can spoil it all by harvesting too soon. Patience is everything.
  • Sometimes, you get sunny days and perfect conditions to do your work. Sometimes, it’s pissing it down and you need to wear wellies.
  • It’s lots more fun if you have a dog and a cat and a chicken all playing round you whilst you do it.
  • Sometimes, you have to accept you don’t have the right tools to do the job properly and you have to make do with what you can.
  • You can be far too ambitious and end up in hospital. Or dead.
  • When you think your work is done, you remember you’ve got to do something with it all, or it’ll all go to waste.
  • If you think this task is the end, you’re wrong. Just when you have the fruits of your labour, the real labour starts.
  • You want to put some away for a rainy day, or for the winter so you can enjoy it then too.
  • You can’t live off cherries alone. You’ll get the trots. You need a balance, even if you really, really like cherries.
  • Sometimes, you have to sit back at the end of it all and stick a cherry in your coke so you can feel all wonderful.
  • You think cherries are what you’ve got, but that’s just the beginning… there’s so many other things you can do once you’ve made a start.
  • Some people just don’t like what you’ve got and you’ve got to live with that.
  • Some people are going to be jealous of your cherries. You might be jealous of their pears. Nobody’s ever jealous of the guy with the dirt or the Brussels sprouts.
  • Doing it yourself rather than having it handed to you all pre-packaged and sanitised is much more fun.
  • Sometimes, you are going to twat your head in the process and it’s really going to hurt. It might even leave a scar. But it’s always worth it.
  • If it all goes wrong, turn it to Brandy or Kirsch and get drunk. God hasn’t made a vegetable, grain or fruit yet that you can’t ferment and get drunk from.
I think that’s enough cherry-picking-related metaphors about life. Prepare yourself for sunflower-related metaphors about death, carrot-related metaphors about religion and grape-related metaphors about children.

After the rant, a little rave…

I wouldn’t be me if I couldn’t swing from politics to parsnips in one day. I guess it’s all under the same banner of ‘disenfranchised middle-class white-girl values’.

Anyway, we’ve harvested 3 kg of cherries today – the first lot. I’m kind of hoping we can get between 8-10 kg of cherries. Right now, cherries in Asda are 2.97 for 200g – which makes 1 kg come in at about 7.50. Let’s call it 8 euros per kilo. Not a bad little haul. I want every single last cherry off the trees, because cherries are my absolute favourite.

Cherries and elderflower

And I have a renewed thank you to make – to Steve’s uncle Chris and his wife Nush, who kindly gave me a cherry stoner for Christmas. It’s absolutely excellent. I’m in love with it. I could stone cherries all day.

I boiled 1 kg up in syrup to freeze; I have put another kilo in the freezer straight off. 500 g are in the fridge for munching and 500 g are in a cherry crumble that’s currently in the oven. Tomorrow, I want enough to make a couple of pots of jam. Cherry pie and cream during the week, I think. I’m going to do some glacé cherries and some cherries in kirsch too – if I can get 10 kg of cherries, that’s 500g every other week – and that’ll keep me going until next year!!

You can also see that our elderflower are blossoming. I’m off to get some citric acid tomorrow to make elderflower cordial – and I’d really like to do some elderflower fritters too. I love elderflower and ginger cordial – so might make a batch of that to store over the summer.

We had 2 kg of marteau turnips yesterday, too. Now, the turnip is an unfashionable vegetable, and I don’t know why. I cook it in a little butter and it caramelises wonderfully. Yesterday, we had it mashed with carrots – parfait!

Turnip 'Marteau'

Although, I was kind of hoping now that the garden has stopped being on steroids, that it would be a little quieter and I’ve just reminded myself, via aching legs, that most of what happens from now on is in the kitchen preparing stuff to keep us going through the year! It’s not so pleasant in there right now – hot and sweaty. Between the kitchen and the super-sweaty poly-tunnel, I reckon I’ve sweated out 10 kg.

When life hands you radishes…

As you may have seen from my last blog, we are inundated by radishes. I planted some called ’18 day radishes’, some French breakfast, some seeds from last year’s radishes and Jake also planted some. We’ve had half a kilo already, ranging from mini ones to ones as big as turnips. Not bad considering they went in on the 13th March – and were ready at least a week ago!!

In all honesty, I don’t like radishes much. I planted them out of sentimentality because my Gramps loved radishes. Steve likes radish, but even with his love of radish, you’ve got to have a real fetish to eat half a kilo of the things. So, I was looking for recipes with radishes. I found two that might have been a bit appetising.

One was in an old Readers’ Digest manual – brie and radish mousse. The other was in The Silver Spoon – my bible of cooking. We had camembert, not brie, but I didn’t think it would matter. You have to chop the rind off a very ripe brie (or spoon it out – much easier!) mix it with a little double cream, whip up the same amount of double cream, add some powdered gelatine and mix in the radishes then leave it to set. I confess I chose this one because we had a ripe camembert and I needed something to do with it.


Because the cheese doesn’t ever really mix with the cream – it just becomes a mix rather than integrated – and the gelatine has to bind the two – which it didn’t really – it just did that nasty thing of going all stringy and horrid – it just ended up a bit of a gloopy mess. I thought it was quite edible, but it seemed to bring up a lot of phlegm. Dairy will do that if you’ve got a cough! Steve did NOT think it was edible, professed it looked like phlegm, ate one mouthful and did a face like Jake does when faced with any one of his food dislikes: one of utter disgust.

Not one to be kept then!

The second recipe fared a little better. It was radishes in yoghurt. I chopped them (you’re supposed to have an apple in it, but I didn’t have one, and I had a lot of radish, so I just did radish!) mixed Greek yoghurt with lemon juice, celery salt and pepper – perfect. This works. Steve’s finishing it off as I write. I can probably get away with some celery and apple in there too.

Of course, the internet is my favourite recipe book and I’ve since found several that make me want to grow more radishes. The first is the lemon, chilli and radish salad which looks like I might even try it. It reminded me that quite a lot of oriental food uses radish – I saw a lot of dishes with radish and seafood in some kind of eastern sauce. It’s become clear that a ‘smoothie’ of vegetables is a real part of French cuisine in restaurants at the minute – gone are veloutés (despite G. Ramsay’s misuse of the term!) and confits – so my second choice is a french radish smoothie with carrot paté and artichoke and chorizo muffins. It combines much of those elements the French seem crazy about at the moment, cuisine-wise – American stuff like smoothies and muffins, with a real French twist. Plus, it’s cheap to make. I think this is one for the next radish harvest. The final one is a more old-fashioned, dare I say passé recipe from Sophie Grigson for citrus radish confit which also looks splendid. I’m actually looking forward to our next radish crop now.

We noticed yesterday that the cherries are beginning to ripen – some had turned orangey-green. Today, they’re definitely red, although not so many of them are that stage yet. You can almost watch them ripen before your eyes. We ate one each – they weren’t deep red on the inside, but they were still fairly edible. I think I’ll wait before I eat any more though. They were perfect last year when we came in the last week of May.

From this:

To this:

And now to this in six weeks!

I am waiting for this:

Mmmm. Cherry jam. Cherry ice-cream. Glacé cherries. Cherry jelly. Cherry brandy. Cherry compote. I love cherries! I think I’d go as far as saying they’re my favourite fruit.