Thursday: 06.July.2006

Julio's Christmas cherries

I noticed in the grocery store that cherries are in season. Every summer, I buy a bunch and fill a mason jar with them, then add vod-ka and seal the lid tightly .. before stashing the jar away in a cool, dark place.

On Christmas (or sometimes New Years), I retrieve the jar, invite over some friends and pop the lid.

What you'll find is an *exchange* takes place: the potency of the alcohol somehow migrates into the cherries, and the sweetness of the cherries mellows the vod-ka. (It'll become dark red.)

Use a good quality (unflavored) vodka, and ensure the cherries still have their *stems* .. which is important, or they'll become mushy.

continued

It won't yield much volume .. barely enough for a shot for you and a few friends, but the cherries become potent. And the vod-ka is indescribably delicious.

Anyway, a little preparation today .. can set you up for a special treat when Christmas rolls around. Ho ho ho.

Learned this trick from a buddy named Robert Apuzzo, from New Haven (Westville). He was Italian (still is, far as I know), but his skin was so dark (olive) that we called him Julio (Hoo-lee-oh), cuz he almost looked Puerto Rican.

Spent a few holidays with him (and his cousin Anna Banana), before I left for the military and lost touch. Never forgot his Christmas cherries, tho, and soon made it my own tasty tradition...

...which can now be yours. And when you do, make a toast "to Julio and Anna Banana".

When I was growing up (in Connecticut), gramps had *two* cherry trees in his backyard .. big ones, too. I learned how to climb pretty young, so I've eaten my fair share of cherries.

Here in California, they *pre-bag* the cherries, making you buy the not-so-good ones, in order to get the darker, sweeter fruit.

Here's a map (compliments of Biloxi Joe) of the cherry growing regions in the US. Looks like the main growing regions are east of the San Francisco Bay area, up in Washington state, northern Oregon, and a little in northern Michigan.





Posted by Rad at July 6, 2006 07:35 AM

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