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Cherry-Picking

Now that Hillary and Barack have stopped accusing each other of cherry-picking, it’s time to switch topics from politics to the fruit in question. They’re only here for a few more weeks (the cherries, not the candidates), so get ’em while you can.

In the interest of preserving some cherries before their season ends, I listened to a radio chef talking about making cherry jam. I got very enthused for a good twenty seconds and then I came to my senses.

The thing is, you need to pit about a million cherries. I guess you can use a cherry pitter (I’ve heard of people using a chopstick) but still, it’s essential to multi-task while you’re pitting or you’ll go nuts. Snap on”Beauty and the Geeks” and watch while you pit.

If you have any patience left after the pitting ceremony, you cook the cherries with some sugar for a while (Monsieur Le Chef was not specific), then throw the whole mess into some jars.

M.L.C. had to be prompted to explain that the jars must be sterilized before and pressurized after they’re filled with jam. But what if you mess up the sterilizing and a hardy bacteria slips through? You proudly give the jam to your relatives for Christmas and they’re all dead by New Year’s. (Don’t get any ideas.)

It’s much safer (and less labor-intensive) to go to Williams-Sonoma and buy La Trinquelinette’s cherry jam. Or get the awesome version from Loulou’s Garden, sold at City Bakery, or Cerises Griotte cherry fruit spread from Le Pain Quotidien. All delicious, Loulou’s is best on vanilla ice cream.

Williams-Sonoma also carries Triple Cherry cobbler and pie filler, which I haven’t tried yet but I’ll get back to you when I do. I’m also going to post a recipe for cherry salad next week, so stay conscious.

P.S. When Christmas rolls around, instead of that homemade jam, give the folks the gift that keeps on giving: a cherry pitter.

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