Klondyke Farm was our destination. I waved goodbye to Superman ensuring him it would be about 2 hours to get there...and 3.5hrs later we arrived :)
We have been this way before but always to catch the winter snow in the Matroosberg, never at the beginning of summer to pick cherries. Even though the drive was terribly long and the roads under construction near the village, we were stunned by the quietness (well until the kids left the car) and the beauty.
What does one say when you have only seen cherries in plastic boxes at Woolies? And then you are faced with an orchard of hundreds and hundreds of trees all covered in these gorgeous pale pink to bright read to almost purple fruits?
Well, it's quite simple..."Can we eat off the tree?" The rule is NO, but they charge R20 entrance fee per person in case you just can't help yourself.
Then you walk looking for the best tree, the higher you go away from the parking area, the better the pickings. We each brought home 1kg of cherries.
So what did we do with our 5kgs of cherries? The next morning (Wednesday) I pitted a bowl full and we had it with nut and seed cinnamon granola, double cream yoghurt and honey.
That evening I made a Sweet Cherry Pie...oh my cherie! Thank you Martha!
For breakfast the next day (Thursday) I pitted another bowl and made a cherry syrup by adding some lemon juice and sugar and cooking them until soft. This was the topping to almond and banana flapjacks along with yoghurt.
And Saturday morning saw me putting 700g into brandy, making 1 litre of cherry and port jam and a delicious cherry ice-cream for evening desert.
We each had to take turns with pitting them as it can become a bit tedious. 4 cups of fresh cherries went into jam along with 5 cups of sugar, 50g pectin and some lemon juice. Right at the end I added ¼ cup of port.
While this last picture doesn't do the ice-cream any good, this has to be the most decadent thing I have eaten all year. I used this basic recipe and then while it was churning in the ice-cream machine I broke in about 12 blocks of Sally Williams dark nougat chocolate.
Oh My CHERIE!
I think if we go back again one year I will bring home 10kgs as the drive is so long and we could have doubled all we did and still not be tired of eating them.
Have you had a first cherry picking experience?