I knew that Butterpowered Bike and I would be friends when she showed me where she’d found cherry trees for foraging.
I mean, that’s friendship, right there.
But I knew we were really truly foodie buddies when she helped me pick—and then let me take ALL—the cherries because I told her I wanted to make my grandmother a sour cherry pie.
I was planning my first trip home to Dallas with my daughter to introduce her to her great grandmother and great grandfather. It was already going to be a really special trip, but knowing how much my grandmother loves cherry pie, I thought if I could pick enough to bake one, it might be the cherry on top of a perfect memory.
We called them feral cherries because, based on their location (and no, I’m not going to share where that is!), we assume some were originally planted intentionally, but now, many years later, they’ve definitely gone wild. We got two pints, which I very carefully packed in my luggage, along with my cherry pitter, and carried all the way to Dallas.
The results were stunning. I used this recipe from Saveur, which was absolutely perfect. The two pints we picked gave us a scant four cups, so I added a can of sour cherries in water, just to fill it out. The difference between those limp, bland, mushy canned fruits and my wild ones was dramatic.
The color was as vivid as if we’d used a bottle of food coloring, but it was all natural. And because those wild cherries were SO sour, the sugar in the recipe didn’t drown them out, leaving them pleasantly tart—just the way all of us in my family like it.
Maybe the best part was actually getting to share this found bounty with my grandmother and the rest of my family. For reasons too complicated to go into, we ended up having the pie for breakfast! Serendipitously fitting, perhaps, as one of my fondest memories of my grandmother is of her ordering a slice of cherry pie for breakfast at a diner in Albuquerque while we were on a road trip together. I remember being fascinated and proud that she knew exactly what she wanted and wasn’t the least bit worried about what anyone thought about it!
Thank you again, Butter, for making this amazing memory possible. Couldn’t have done it without you!