Pick until your fingers turn red!

Cherry season is one of my favorite times of year in Door County.  Every year we venture out to one of the many orchards and pick until our hands are stained red.  Whether the cherries are early or late August 1st always seems to be a safe bet that the trees will be full. I’ll never forget my first year picking.  We found out it was cheaper to pick your own so my husband and I set out to pick 12 gallons of cherries.  I’ll never forget the look on the little girls face when she asked us how many bags we needed and then found out there were only two of us to fill them. “You know you can order them by the 5 gallon pail pre-picked right?” she said.  I think she thought we were going to be there for days.  It really didn’t take that long but after we filled our first bucket we knew we were in for the long hall. A few hours later the car was loaded and we were up to our eye balls in cherries…literally because I think you end up eating as many as you pick.

The next step is to figure out all the crazy things you can do with the cherries.  Just about every year we make cherry bounce, cherries soaked in alcohol and sugar, that are ready for consumption right around the holidays.  Believe me when I tell you my entire family looks forward to each year’s batch, it makes for quite the get-together. This year we decided to do something new- cherry butter.  For those of you that don’t know what cherry butter is you have to try it.   It’s cooked down until its thicker than jam or preserves and is just about the same consistency as butter.  You can spread it on bread or use it to dip pretzels in.  We took it one step further and threw in a habenero and some brandy.  That right cherry habenero brandy butter!  Sounds crazy but it makes and unbelievable turkey sandwich.  Now to find something even more creative for next year!