Local orchards are giving up their delicate, sweet red cherries now so we can enjoy them in all kinds of meals and to snack on, for the next couple of months.
Although most of us think of cherries in desserts such as that old favourite, Cherries Jubilee, or in pies, in fact, they are just fabulous served in a refreshing salsa to complement a piece of grilled meat because they’re wonderful with the smokiness of barbecued meat.
Pitted, they’re also a great addition to a salad and taste grand with slices of barbecued steak or shreds of moist chicken over greens.
If you’re a fan of smoothies or refreshing sorbets, you’ll love the sweet flavour of fresh cherries in them too.
Strong-flavoured cheeses such as goat cheese, gorgonzola or blue cheeses also pair well with fresh, ripe cherries, with their sweet juiciness.
Would you believe that 80 per cent of the new varieties of cherries grown around the world were actually developed right here in the Okanagan? So where could be better pick your favourite fruits?
As the first tree fruits of summer ripen, so does the lavender that does so well in the hot, sunny, dry Okanagan summer, and at Kelowna’s own farm, Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm on Takla Road,
July 21, there’s a day full of events for hospice set amidst the beauty of the garden, beginning with a release of butterflies, an artisan marketplace, garden art, children’s activities, food and music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The community is invited to remember and honour loved ones by releasing butterflies, while listening to music and enjoying the work of local artists.
From 5:30 to 8:30, Art in the Garden will feature dinner by award-winning chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines and dessert by Roger Sleiman of Quails’ Gate, along with an art auction to benefit the Central Okanagan Hospice Association.
The first awards focussed on local food enthusiasts are underway—the We Heart Local Awards—with nominations for best in 15 categories just closed, and voting beginning today, July 15, so go online and vote for your favourites.
It’s at: www.facebook.com/eatlocaleatnatural
You could even vote for my book Jude’s Kitchen in the food advocacy category! If you don’t already have a copy, pick one up wherever books are sold, or at local wine boutiques. It features nearly 200 recipes for fresh, local B.C. foods, arranged by the season.
Sweet Cherry Salsa
Serve this flavourful salsa with grilled pork or chicken or with fish. It’s refreshing, sweet and tart, with a hint of spice from the ginger.
2 c. (500 ml) cherries
1/2 c. (125 ml) cucumber
2 tsp. (10 ml) fresh ginger
handful of fresh cilantro
sugar or honey
Pit and chop the cherries and chop the cucumber into small dice. Peel the orange, segment it and chop each in half.
Mince fresh ginger and fresh cilantro leaves
Put all ingredients into a small serving bowl and sprinkle with fine white sugar or a spoonful of honey, to taste.
Squeeze the juice from a small lime over top and then mix everything together gently but thoroughly.
Makes about 3 cups.
Sweet Cherry Sorbet
Instead of rich, thick ice cream, a sorbet is light and full of sparkling fruit flavour so a perfect choice after a heavy dinner or on a hot day. Unlike the sherbet, there’s no dairy in a sorbet, just sugar syrup and fruit. This recipe requires an ice cream maker.
4 c. (1 l) fresh or frozen, pitted sweet cherries
1 tbsp. (15 ml) lemon zest
1/4 c. (60 ml) sugar
1/4 c. (60 ml) orange juice
1/4 c. (60 ml) lemon juice
1/2 c. (125 ml) boiling water
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) almond extract
coarsely-chopped fresh cherries
roasted sliced almonds
small chocolate chips
Pit cherries and place in the blender. Either frozen or fresh cherries can be used.
Zest a lemon and mince it.
Combine in a heatproof bowl the zest, sugar, orange and lemon juice and pour the boiling water over it, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved completely and cool the syrup.
Pulse the cherries until coarsely chopped, adding the cooled sugar syrup and then blending until smooth. Mix in the almond extract.
Pour the mixture into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions, likely for 30 minutes or so, until thickened.
Put into plastic containers such as yogurt tubs and freeze for at least several hours, or until firm enough to scoop out.
Makes nearly two litres.