It's that time again, time to start picking our tart cherries for my personal favorite, tart cherry pie. This year the cherries are ripe almost a full month ahead of last year. Granted this year I wanted to avoid the worm debacle so I decided to pick when the cherries were a little less ripe.
We planted the tree 3 years ago, and the next year got loads of tart cherries and made 2 great pies. Last year at the end of June, I waited until the cherries were bursting. We picked and brought them into the house and began the tedious process of hand pitting. (I can't bring myself to purchase a cherry pitter for the one or two days a year I would use it.) At one point I looked into the bowl and noted something wriggling. It turns my stomach to write it, but yes, it was a small worm. I furiously split open and inspected every cherry and every cherry had one.
To the internet for a search! I found that it is a fruit fly maggot. I called my husband revolted, and he insisted he didn't care, he would eat it anyway. The lengths men will go to to prove their virility! I was horrified to think we probably ate the worm infected cherries the previous year.
I called two of my friends who both assured me that had never had a worm in their cherries. By the end of the week I had been to both their houses, splint open their cherries and showed them their worms. I didn't want to be alone in this mess. They were both shocked and realized they had probably been making pies with wormy cherries all along.
I didn't mind letting the birds have some of the cherries, but I certainly wasn't going to let them have them all. I read on-line that if you pick early enough you will miss it's natural life-cycle of the horrid fruit fly.
So that was what we were doing at 7:30 this morning, and indeed, though almost every single cherry had a small tell-tale indent, (you can see them on the first photo) none has an actual worm.
I used a recipe from food network that calls for 2 cups of tart cherries which you cook on the stove top until most of the fluid is evaporated. Then you add the cup of sugar and yes corn starch. I hate the idea of corn starch, but the filling tasted fabulous! I again used Martha's pate brisee pie crust recipe.
|tart cherry pie wth he cherry tree in background|