Nature has the best recipe

cherries1.jpgAt the moment, cherries are everywhere here in Switzerland. Roadside signs proclaim “Kirschen” or “Chriesli” (the Swiss-German dialect for cherries), luring you to farms and fruit groves and farm stores. They’re on sale at the Migros supermarket too, for the busy person to pick up in a hurry.

When I get started on cherries, I can’t seem to stop until I’ve had my fill, and I do mean fill, of that sweet, dark juice with a hint of sourness. Fresh cherries are so good that I just can’t bring myself to do anything more than pop them in my mouth one after another, methodically spitting out the pits. I know there are numerous cherry recipes out there, but as delicious as things like cherry pie and cherry clafouti are, there’s really nothing to beat the naked, unadorned cherry.

The same goes for strawberries. I do like to treat them lightly with balsamic vinegar, or eat them the way kids do in Japan as ichigo miruku (strawberries and milk). But when you’re lucky enough to get top quality strawberries in their real season, juicy and sweet to the core, doing anything more than flicking off any dirt specks from the surface and eating them as is, leaving only the hulls, seems to be a crime.

strawberries2.jpg

I could go on and on. Ripe, soft apricots, fragrant peaches and nectarines, juicy plums, tender raspberries, really-ripe tomatoes…as the summer progresses, we can indulge in wave upon wave of fresh, sweet fruit and vegetables, ending in the fall with a crescendo of color and flavor (grapes, late plums, pears, apples) before things go quiet and grey again - cabbage and broccoli and other pedestrian vegetables, enlivened with flashes of imported citrus fruits and canned or frozen things from the warm months. Until the cycle starts all over again in early spring with rhubarb, asparagus, bitter spring greens, tiny new potatoes.

In past years, I’ve had a tendency to go a bit crazy sometimes in my zeal to keep and preserve some of the goodness of summer. This year, I’ve made a new batch of apricot preserves and frozen a bunch of strawberries. But really, is there anything better than a pure, unadorned, peach that is so ripe that the sweet juices run down your chin? Is there a need to scramble for yet another recipe, to fiddle around with perfection?

Strange words perhaps from a food blogging person. Food bloggers as a whole seem to be always looking for recipes, recipes, and more recipes. But food is not really about recipes. Food is about taste, enjoyment, pleasure.

We’re very lucky to be living in a time when really fresh and ripe, in-season produce is making a big comeback. We don’t have to just stand for fruit that are so hard you could hammer a nail with them. The producers are listening and responding to our demands for ripe, flavorful, fresh fruits and vegetables.

The older I get (and I’m not that old yet), the more I crave simpler, purer flavors. So this summer, I’m going to enjoy my ripe, juicy fruit with as little fiddling as possible. The memories will spice my winter meals almost as well as the frozen, pickled or otherwise conserved versions will.

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It’s cherry (and

It’s cherry (and strawberry) season here in Canada right now but the cherries here don’t hold a candle to the cherries I remember getting when I lived in Germany. Used to buy them on the street in paper cones and just pig out, they were so juicy and sweet.

Patricia
Montreal
www.mcmullenweb.com

anon. | 30 June, 2007 - 19:18

you are absolutly right! and

you are absolutly right! and just made me get some more cherries from the kitchen ^__^

Julia | 30 June, 2007 - 19:55

Me too. Especially with

Me too. Especially with cherries, I’ve never been able to, or wanted to, do anything at all with them other than sit on the couch with a big bowl. They’re just coming into season here in western new york, and I plan to drive up the road to the farmstand later and pick some up. I love living out here in the middle of the orchards. Strawberries are still around too, so I may get some of those. I sometimes get a little more elaborate with strawberries, sprinkling them with a little sugar and let them sit and hour or 2 so the juice comes out. Then serve over ice cream or cake.

Pat | 1 July, 2007 - 16:40

strawberry goo

If someone came up with a method of bottling smashed ripe strawberry goo, I’d buy it! :D

maki | 3 July, 2007 - 17:42

So true about the

So true about the strawberries. We bought some from a farm stand a few miles from where we live and they were so ripe that at home when the carton tipped a bit and landed on a berry, it smushed into goo. Definitely ripe, and so delicious.

Katie | 1 July, 2007 - 16:55

I agree!

You took the words from my mouth! Its cherry/strawberry season here in the Northwest of America…. and while when I was younger (XD though I am only 23 now) I would have been more inclined to turn them into pies or cookies or cobblers or cakes… now I just like to sit at a sunny window and eat them one by one!

Cristal | 3 July, 2007 - 10:24

Sing it, Sister!

We just returned from a visit to Western NY and Eastern Ontario, where fresh-picked cherries were abundantly available at roadside stands. There is nothing like a warm cherry (or strawberry), picked fresh and savored right away…nothing. And so far from the taste of cherries from the super-center grocery store. sigh

frances | 4 July, 2007 - 01:23

Cherry love

I share your love of cherries. I love all kinds of cherries. I went through a Rainier (the white kind) cherry-loving phase but I think now I’ve returned to favoring the deep colored red and black ones. They’re just too good! Not too sweet….not too bitter. I was honestly going to post a cherry loving blog entry myself before I came across yours but just hadn’t taken a good cherry photo yet.

Hillary | 5 July, 2007 - 21:59

Cherry Memories

I love cherries, too, and when cherry season comes around, it’s such a thrill, pink-stained fingers, pits and all. I grew up in BC, Canada, and have these wonderful memories of driving around with my parents, stopping at various fruit stands and carting home tons of delectable fruits - especially cherries. I’m with you on this one - when it’s the season, I simply can’t even think about using fruits in recipes.

Muse in the Kitchen | 6 July, 2007 - 22:08

summer fruit delirium

i’m traveling in the tropics: a hallucinatory orgy of sweet sharp tropical fruit. mangosteens. the sweetest softest pineapple. mangos mangos mangos. jackfruit. lychees. glorious dragonfuit and rambutans and longans and papaya. all of these are best unadulterated, eaten beside a street throbbing with all kinds of traffic.

and yet.

in this golden summer, your post brought to mind the wonders of the colden summer and thus i add cherries and berries to my dreaming.

wonderful blog, btw.

catriona | 7 July, 2007 - 07:21

yup.. natur has the best taste

couldn’t agree with you more…. - when it comes to taste, nature got one of the best!
I just returned for a trip, where I had the hugest fruit flip(or what it is called) at a farm.
Seriously… while my friends and family were busy harvest the strawberries and cherries… I was doing my routine - pluck one and eat one, pluck two and eat two.. … I think I filled my stomach so much making it feel like bursting.
(and to be honest… I do this everytime I’m around cherries and strawberries )
But eating so much gives you PAIN! But it is worth ^^

oh.. btw… the cheerries on the picture looks really yummi!!

kes | 18 July, 2007 - 04:51

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