365 Things to Look Forward to — Number 35: Cherries

35. Cherries

How can one not love cherries?

Back in the Philippines, the only time we ever saw cherries growing up was in cans of fruit cocktail, which was served as is, in fruit salad, or in crema de fruta. We were always trying to best each other at finding the single half slice of preserved cherry.

I discovered maraschino cherries in high school, for a cooking class, if I’m not mistaken. It was one of the ingredients for a fruit cake recipe that we were learning. Of course, some of us simply picked a cherry or two to eat as is. Since then, I’ve always kept a jar of maraschino cherries in my fridge for baking, garnishing, and fruit salads. Not that they always were used to that end, since, later on, my youngest son Justin discovered them and would appropriate the jar for himself, popping cherries as a snack. Let’s say I always had an empty jar of maraschino cherries for some years.

Cherries were a delicacy, a special fruit that we could only find preserved in the Philippines. They were as exotic to us as mangoes are to Canadians.

Scene change: Canada.

On one of our first grocery trips, I decided to get maraschino cherries for fruit cake. While delicious in the cake, they had a completely different taste from the maraschino cherries we got in the Philippines, which were much sweeter. That jar remained undisturbed by Justin, who did not appreciate the sharper flavor.

This summer, as I was browsing through the weekly store flyers, I noticed several specials on fresh black or red cherries. At those prices, how could I say no? Off I went to the grocery store to buy myself a bag of cherries–and didn’t I fall in love! Since then, every time there’s a sale on cherries and I have a bit of extra cash–because they are still an expensive fruit–I get a bag of fresh cherries.

What’s not to love about them? They are luscious little things that you can just pop into your mouth whole and when you bite into them the sweet and very slightly sour flavor just rush over your taste buds and send prickles of pleasure to your brain. Then you savor the soft smooth flesh as you separate it from the pip and crush the fruit some more between your teeth, roll it over your tongue as you spit out the pip then swallow the flesh. There is just enough juice in the fruit to make you want more, not so much to inundate your taste buds.

If they only came seedless, like grapes!

Mmm. New favorite.


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