I had a crucial role in my high school production of The Taming of The Shrew. Before the curtain rose, I and two other girls in Elizabethan peasant costume strode through the audience, carrying wicker baskets of plastic fruit and calling “Blackberries! Strawberries! Che-e-e-ries!”
That was it. Oh no, wait, at the last scene, when all the characters crowd onto the stage to witness Kate’s new, humbled attitude, I was there too. Cool, eh?
Well, I don’t know how they would have managed without me. But till today, whenever I buy cherries the echo of that old vendor’s call rings in my mind. Che-e-e-ries!
printable version here
Recipe from Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking
500 grams – 1 lb. morello cherries
3/4 cup white sugar
1.5 cup wine or apple cider vinegar
6 whole cloves
Rinse and drain the cherries, discarding any damaged ones and leaving the stems on. Pack them in a clean, dry jar.
Bring the vinegar, sugar and cloves to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the liquid to boil gently for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool in its pan. Pour the cooled vinegar over the cherries and put the lid on the jar. Store in a cool, dark place for 1 month before opening and eating.
The recipe may be multiplied as many times as you like. Don’t worry if at first the liquid doesn’t cover the cherries: just shake the jar a little for a few days. As the fruit releases its juice, the liquid level will rise and the fruit will submerge.
As you see, plastic wrap works to keep dust and flies out of the jar. Best is to close the jar properly of course.
Eat the cherries as you would olives, as part of an appetizer or as a nosh. The remaining liquid makes fabulous salad dressing, with olive oil, salt, and a touch of garlic.
I look forward to putting some of these sweet-sour cherries on the table come Rosh HaShanah. They also make great Purim gifts. You’ll have to hide a few jars away if you want them that far ahead.
Once cured, the cherries will keep up to a year.