Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cherries in the summertime


Cherry memories, loving cherries, photographing cherries, and what I did with the leftover cherries

Summertime always gets me a little nostalgic (hence my 80’s summer post last year).  I guess it’s because for a lot of us, some of the most cherished memories are created during the summer (the wintertime too, especially around the holidays). Kids are on summer break from school. And it’s around the time when most working adults will take a vacation (if they are taking one at all) and even go on a blissful vacation. Summer has always meant taking some time off from the everyday world and having fun, creating memories, relaxing, and of course, eating lots of yummy food. These are all the components to make a person feel happier. And I hope everyone takes a little time this summer to take a little breather from all the madness of the everyday world to enjoy the little things that summer has to offer. Life would get pretty boring and meaningless if we didn’t have these moments every once in a while.

I have many fond memories of the summers of my life. And I can’t remember a summer that did not involve eating cherries, and lots of it. They just taste so delicious when they are just ripe. Every single year, seeing cherries in season is a reminder that it is summer time. When I am munching on cherries, I am still that same little girl that used to bite them off the stems and then try to spit out the seeds as far as I could out into the streets, except I don’t do that anymore. Now I am a dignified grown up that removes the stem off of the cherry instead of biting it off. And I haven’t played distance seed spit in ages. I now discretely spit the seeds into a separate cup like a lady.
Around my teen years, my family got into cherry picking. I don’t even remember how that started. I can look back on the cherry picking trips now and smile, but back then, I actually hated going. I mean, I think it was mostly because it was usually scorching hot and I wanted to go and chill in an air conditioned room somewhere instead of being out in triple digit heat picking cherries. But, it’s not like I had any choice. I was forced to go each time. We always stopped by on the way back home from Palm Springs.

We’d pick a crapload of cherries each time. Everyone would get their own bucket and we’d go our separate ways to see who can pick the most cherries (kind of like how we did with gosari picking). The cherries picked right off trees taste amazing. I remember being a little iffy on eating them without washing them first, but I saw everyone else doing it. And nobody was dying or getting sick. So my apprehensions about eating unwashed cherries subsided as I continued to pop cherries in my mouth while trying to pick the best looking ones. We’d always go home with enough cherries to feed our entire neighborhood. The entire back of our van (around the time we had traded in the RV for a more convenient to drive van) would be taken up with our luggage and loads of cherries.

Of course, we couldn’t eat THAT much cherries by ourselves. We gave them out to our friends, neighbors, and whoever else wanted cherries. I even got to the point where I was sick of cherries and did not want to see another single cherry again. But of course, that always passed and I always looked forward to eating cherries again the next summer.

I haven’t gone cherry picking in ages. I think I’d have a blast going, but I am not able to tolerate being in the heat too well, so I’ll pass. I mean, I enjoy being outdoors and all, but just not when it’s scorching hot. And it usually is scorching hot in LA around the summer time. I just buy my cherries from the store now. The other week, I could not stop munching on cherries. They are addicting! They were just so juicy, sweet, and tasty. I was in cherry summer heaven.
Now that I am dabbling in food photography, it was only natural that I started shooting cherries. The vibrant colors of the cherries easily make them beautiful subjects to shoot. Turning them into beautiful works of art depends on the “shooter”. I am obviously far from being that kind of shooter. Which shot do you guys like? Can you tell that I went a little crazy with the shooting?




When I was done devouring and photographing cherries, I had a bit leftover that I could not eat anymore. I ate way too many! But I did make use of the cherries that were on their way to getting old. One of the things I did with them is make cherry smoothies!

Yeah, I still need some more practice with photographing drinks!

I also felt like baking something with the remaining cherries. Well you know me, it's not unusual for me to be out of stuff. I was missing many of the key baking ingredients to bake anything. I was missing flour, butter, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and a probably a bunch of other things that is needed for a lot of the baking recipes. I browsed around other food blogs for inspiration in baking with cherries with the limited ingredients I had on hand. But no, everything I came across was calling for ingredients I was missing. After some more browsing, I came across this! Flourless double chocolate cherry cookies on Sweet Simple Stuff! Wow, a recipe with the things that I actually had. Is it weird that I had chocolate chips on hand but none of the basic baking ingredients at the time?

The blogger at Sweet Simple Stuff is so right about cherries and dark chocolate belonging together. They just do. The cookies are very meringue-ish. The recipe calls for 3 Cups of powdered sugar! So yeah, definitely not the diabetic.

And of course, I had to take some shots of the cookies too. I couldn't help but to wish that the cookie queen, Lindsey, was with me when shooting the cookies, yelling at me and telling me what I was doing wrong.



  1. Maybe I have given cherries a bad rap in my mind but I haven't cared very much for them. Maybe I had bad cherries. It makes me think of cherry flavored cough syrup and those awful cherry cordials. Maybe I need to try "real" cherries and see if I like them after all! I like the shot of your cherry milkshake! It looks really good. At first I thought the aluminum foil in your shots was ice for some reason, haha.

    1. What? You don't like cherries? Yeah, you probably had the bad cherries lol. Maybe you should go cherry picking too and try some of the yummy freshly picked ones. Do you dislike rainier cherries too? When I was a kid, though I've always loved cherries, I hated some of the cherry flavored items though....like cherry flavored popcycles and cherry flavored Squeez-it. So the cherry flavored ones would always be left untouched.

  2. Are there places you can pick cherries in SoCal? I would so love that. I wanted to go to Julian and pick apples but everyone said it's not as fun as I think it would be. That it's more back-breaking-work than fun. So I'm wondering if cherries would be the same thing.

    The foil under the cherries (in the pic) looked initially like ice! What's the foil for again? Is it for a certain time of the day when you take photos?

    Post your cherry/chocolate cherry recipe! I think you modified yours a bit right?

    1. I think you would enjoy it, minus the torturous heat! I've never been apple picking before. I'm guessing the weight of all the apples you might have to hull around might be a big part of making the experience back breaking? IDK. Even though I was miserable many of the times, I look back at it with fond memories.

      I don't even know if this was the one we went to, but here's one. http://www.upickcherries.com/

      The one we went to was in some residential area. I even remember one time I really didn't want to go, so I insisted on waiting in the van. But of course, I couldn't stay in there long, so I ended up going along.

      When I follow a recipe, majority of the time, I do tweak it here and there, but with the flourless double chocolate cherry cookies, I did the exact recipe. I love that cherry/chocolate combo. I want to go to the market, buy some ingredients and try some other recipes....maybe one with flour and butter this time!

  3. I love cherries. They are in season in Australia at Christmas time and it always seems festive to have them in a salad - red and green. Love the cookies!

    1. Wow...that's a switch! I can so not imagine going cherry crazy in December, but that seems awesome. I am a little envious of the southern hemisphere right now because I am dying in the scorching heat!

  4. I loooove cherries. Its always nice when they drop in price and you can get a huge bag of them every week.

    I like the pictures of the cherries with the white background, the first one is very Alfred Hitchhock-esque and the second one is magazine worthy :)

    I never eat the squishy cherries I love the ones that are perfectly dark red but still 'plump' enough. I used my squishy cherries to make a clafoutis but decided to sub in coconut flour anddddd it did not quite work out. Sidenote: coconut flour absorbs A TON of liquid haha.


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