Montmorency Pie Cherries

Tart Cherries!!! These are great for jam, PIES and dried cherries.  

Tart cherries, which are sometimes called sour, red cherries, or pie cherries. They are best known as the key ingredient in desserts. They are also delicious in main courses, salads, jams and jellies, and beverages. Tart cherries are seldom sold fresh in your local grocery store. They are harvested in June & July and usually frozen, canned, or dried for use throughout the year.

  • 1 pound fresh cherries equals 2 1/2 to 3 cups pitted cherries.
  • One pound of frozen cherries equals about 3 cups; it takes 4 to 5 cups of tart cherries to make a pie.
  • There are about 2 1/3 cups cherry pie filling in a 21-ounce can. There are about 2 cups of tart cherries in a 16-ounce can.
  • It takes 6 to 8 pounds of fresh tart cherries to make 1 pound of dried cherries
  • There are about 7,000 cherries on an average tart cherry tree, and it takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie.  And each of those 7,000 cherries is hand picked off the tree.
  • Cherries, especially the tart varieties, contain antioxidants that might help fight cancer and heart disease, according to research at Michigan State University.

Freezing Cherries

Freeze cherries as soon after picking as possible. This will insure a high quality product. Stem and sort cherries. Wash in cold water. Drain and pit. Pack into containers, using one of the following methods:

  • SUGAR PACK: 3/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water; mix to dissolve
  • SYRUP: Bring 5 cups sugar and 4 cups water to a rolling boil. Chill before using
  • PLAIN: Wash, pit, drain. Place in freezer quality plastic bags.
  • Freezer cherries may be stored for 12 months at 0 degree F.

Home-Made Dried Cherries

2009-08-12-DriedCherries3.jpgDried cherries are a great substitute for dried cranberries and have lots of nutritional benefits.   But they are delicious in baked goods, rice, salads, sauces, in granola and trail mix, or just plain as a snack.

Drying the cherries is incredibly simple.  Just wash the cherries. Then the cherries must be pitted before drying, you can do this by cutting each one in half and removing the seeds or keep them whole and use a cherry pitter.  Then spread them on the rack of your dehydrator.  Make sure they each have a little room so they don’t end up stuck together.  Set the dehydrator for 135° and let them dry for 6-8 hours.  But check them often near the end, you don’t want them to get crispy.  Once they are dried, allow pieces to rest at room temperature for about an hour before packaging. Then store in airtight containers or sealed bags.  If you see condensation in the containers or bags – they are not dried enough to store yet, dry them a little more.

Don’t have a dehydrator…. no worries you can dry them in the oven.    Turn your oven as low as it will go – about 175° for on our oven – anything between 160-200 will do.  Space the oven racks evenly apart.   Covered a few baking sheet with silpats or parchment, (if you have cooling racks use them on the backing sheets and it will speed up the process).  Spread the fruit out in an even layer.   Pop the sheets in the oven and set the clock!   At about the four-hour mark, you should start to see signs of shriveling. The fruit on the wire rack should be done after about 6 hours, and the fruit on the baking sheet should be done after about 8 hours.

Chocolate Cherry Brownies

  • 1 1/3 cups – unsalted butter
  • 10.5 ounces – dark chocolate (minimum 60%,broken into pieces)
  • 5 – large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups – granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups – plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3.5 ounces of drained pie cherries (I used about 7 1/4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.    Grease a 9” x 11” baking pan.  In a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate together until thick and creamy.  Meanwhile beat together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until thick and creamy. The mixture should easily coat the back of a spoon.  Once the butter-chocolate mixture has melted, remove from stove and beat into the egg mixture.  Sift the flour and salt together, and add to the wet ingredients. Mix until mixture is well combined.  Drain pitted pie cherries and fold into the brownie mixture.  Pour mixture into the baking pan and bake for 20 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Once finished baking, allow to cool and cut into pieces.  

From Green and Black’s Chocolate Recipes: Unwrapped 

Tart Tingler – Sour Cherry Smoothiesour cherry smoothie | everybody likes sandwiches

  • 1 c frozen peaches
  • 1 c frozen sour cherries
  • 1/2 c plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/3 c cranberry juice
  • 2-3 T agave syrup or honey

Add the frozen peaches and sour cherries to your blender. Top with the yogurt, sour cherry juice and 1/2 of the agave syrup. Blend on high until smooth. Taste & add more agave syrup if needed. Pour into 2 large glasses.

You might need to add in some water or extra juice if you like a thinner smoothie or some more fruit for a thicker version. Play around until you get your own version!

Fizzy Sour Cherry Lemonade

  • 1 pound fresh or thawed frozen sour cherries (1 quart), stemmed
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 to 1 sup superfine sugar
  • 2 to 3 cups chilled sparkling water
  • Fresh sour cherries with stems, for garnish

Blend cherries (including pits) in a blender at low speed until skins have broken down enough to brightly color liquid (some of pits will be coarsely chopped). Pour through a sieve into a 4-quart pitcher, pressing on and discarding solids. Add lemon juice and sugar, to taste, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Fill glasses with ice.   Add 1/2 cup cherry lemonade to each and top off with sparkling water.  

Cooks’ note: Sour cherry lemonade can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

 No-Bake Cherry-Vanilla Snack Bars

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup dried, pitted dates (unsulfured and unsweetened)
  • 1 cup dried Montmorency cherries (unsulfured and unsweetened or low sugar if available)
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • Pinch salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until the mixture forms a large, sticky mass, pausing every minute or so as needed to scrape down the sides and edges and allow the machine to cool briefly. If the mixture starts to steam or gets very warm from all the friction, you may wish to pause for a couple of minutes.

rollingPlace the mixture between two sheets of parchment paper, or one large sheet folded in half.

Use a rolling pin to roll the mixture into a half-inch-tall rectangle, approximately 5” x 6”.

barsUse a pizza cutter to cut into bars, approximately 1” x 3” each.  Wrap each bar in parchment paper, securing with a stick-on label. Note: the labels will stick better to themselves than the parchment, so aim for labels that are long enough to wrap all the way around the width of the bar. Store bars in a zip-top bag, cookie jar, or your preferred seal-able container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Makes 10 yummy snack bars.   Recipe from: Mother Earth News 

Tart Cherry Jam— 

  • 2# Tart Cherries, pitted and rough chopped
  • 1 box of pectin
  • 2# sugar

Using an eight quart preserving kettle, mix the cherries and the pectin. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring well. Remove from heat & quickly stir in sugar. Return to heat & bring to a hard boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars, following proper canning procedures. Process for 5 minutes in water bath, remove jars and let cool.(seven 8-oz. jars)

Tart Cherry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cups pitted tart cherries
  • 2 tbsp. butter

Mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in pitted cherries. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat & add butter. Stir well. Serve over ice cream, cake or cheese cake. Keep refrigerated.

Sour Cherry Cobbler

  • 4 cups sour cherries, picked over, rinsed, and drained well
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • vanilla ice cream

Working over a bowl pit the cherries, discarding the pits and reserving the cherries and any juices in the bowl, and into the cherries stir the cornstarch, 2/3 cups of the sugar, the lemon juice, and almond extract. In a small bowl stir together the flour, the baking powder, the salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and the butter, blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal, and stir in 1/4 cup boiling water, stirring until the batter is just combined. In an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or flameproof baking dish bring the cherry mixture to a boil, drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto it, and bake the cobbler in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden. Serve the cobbler with the ice cream.