We associate cherry blossoms with early spring, but what says early summer better than the cherries themselves? Cherries and berries are the earliest fruits of the year in this area, and their fresh sweet flavor is such a treat after a long locavore winter of root vegetables and food from the freezer.
There are two basic types of cherries, sweet (or wild) and sour, but there are many varieties of each. Which you cook with depends partly on the dish, but mostly on your personal taste. I tend to prefer the naturally sweeter cherries so I don’t have to add much sweetener (if any).
Cherries make wonderful sauces and jams for nearly any kind of bread or pastry. I chose to use the first cherries this year on top of pancakes for breakfast. I added some blue corn meal to the pancakes so their flavor would be a heartier counterpoint to the sweetness of the cherries.
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready In:
- 1/2 pound pitted sweet cherries, halved (Chelan, via Boxx Berry Farm, Ferndale)
- 1 tablespoon honey (4th Corner Farm, Ferndale)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (BelleWood Acres, Lynden)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for the cooking pan (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, Bellingham)
- 1/2 cup blue cornmeal (Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, Bellingham)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons honey (4th Corner Farm, Ferndale)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (see Exceptions)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (see Exceptions)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (see Exceptions)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (I substituted milk plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar–Twin Brook Creamery, Lynden, and BelleWood Acres, Lynden)
- 1/4 cup milk (Twin Brook Creamery, Lynden)
- 1 large egg (neighbor’s roadside stand, Lummi Island)
- 4 tablespoons plain thick yogurt (Silver Springs Creamery, Lynden)
For the cherries:
For the pancakes:
For the topping:
Combine the cherries, honey, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cherries are softened but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
While that’s cooking, mix the flours, honey, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the buttermilk and milk in a separate bowl. Stir the egg into the melted butter, then stir the egg-butter mixture into the buttermilk mixture.
Finally, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Whisk until just barely combined.
Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high and put in remaining butter. Ladle in batter to make 4 inch pancakes. Flip and finish cooking. Cook remaining pancakes, adding more butter to the pan as needed.
To serve, place a pancake or two on a plate and top with some of the cherries and a dollop of thick yogurt. Repeat with the remaining pancakes. Serve immediately.
Serve with scrambled eggs.
Boxx Berry Farm, 6211 Northwest Road, Ferndale
Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Roadside egg stand, Lummi Island
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham