Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cherries galore!

June 2, Festa della Repubblica

Though today was a holiday in Italy, as Italians celebrated the 65th anniversary of their independence day, it was just another day for me. I'd been to Rome earlier this week, so decided not to hassle with the city scene. Instead, I spent much of the day picking, pitting and cooking cherries.

After four glorious but hectic days in Firenze, I was ready to come back to the tranquil setting in Zagarolo. I'm enjoying my time here more and more. One of my routines is to take an hour-long walk down a country road, with views of vineyards and hills in every direction. I can watch the changes in the vegetation, and was surprised this week to see how much everything had grown while I was in Florence. Wildflowers of all types, colors and sizes had popped out, including orange poppies, blue chickory, white Queen Anne's lace, and pink primrose. In the yard, other varieties of wildflowers are blooming, along with the oleander and pomegranate bushes. (yes, a pomegranate! It has bright orange flowers. Who knew?)

Cherry pitting

And the two cherry trees are loaded down with cherries. There seems to be no end to them! I've been picking about 4 pounds of ripe cherries every day for the past four days, and there's no end in sight. I've made several cherry cobblers, am planning to make a Cherry-Olive Oil Polenta Cake for friends who are coming next week, and tonight I'll try my hand at cherry jam for the first time ever. As for the rest, I'll probably freeze as many as I can for Deborah to enjoy when she comes back. I've also been eating them by the handful; they're just too good to pass up. However, many of them will go to waste, as the trees are too high for me to reach all the branches. When I took a tray of cherry cobbler to one of my English students, I returned with zucchine and gigantic mulberries from their garden. Nice trade!

A bounty of cherries, and cherry cobbler.

One of the best things about house-sitting, as opposed to renting, is that I have access to a fully equipped kitchen, complete with a cherry-pitter and all the other utensils I need to cook, bake, make pasta, jam or whatever else suits my fancy. However, there's no food processor, so I have to beat the cake batter and chop by hand, and I'll be using a mortar and pestle to make pesto when the basil is ready. And then there's the garden: I have fresh lettuce, arugula, artichokes, basil, and soon, tomatoes! I am so thankful to have such a lovely home in such a beautiful setting to take care of for several months.

1 comment:

LindyLouMac said...

The cherries have been wonderful and abundant this year, thank goodness we harvested before our UK weekend, it seems there was a lot of rain in Italy while we were away.