KevinTV

Evans Cherries

08.10.11

I’m sorry BC cherry growers, you can keep your bings. I was a newbie to Evans cherries last year when Mary Ellen and Andreas from Green Eggs & Ham mentioned we could help ourselves to their trees after volunteering to do some weeding and carrot harvesting, as they were too slammed with other harvest work to bother getting to them. They had lots. I picked about 20 lbs, and there was many, many, many times that there. Not knowing what to do with them, and having a fair fall load of work myself, I tossed them in a stockpot and cooked them down, strained them, and ended up with a shockingly tasty syrup. Fantastic in sparkling water, or to replace purchased juice for my kids. This year’s hookup is courtesy of Maki, who lives down the street and offered. I’ll be planting my own tree in the spring.

If you’ve tried Evans cherries from the tree and thought ‘ick, holy sour and no flavor‘, I don’t blame you, but implore you to simply cook them with a little sugar to balance the acidity. The flavor that comes from these things is intense, unique, and beautiful. All the cherry awesomeness you could ask for, and more. I’m not sure I’ve encountered a single fruit that intensifies its flavor so much through cooking – you have to try it. I can’t wait for the cherry pie.

If you’re not sure where to get hooked up, Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton‘s volunteers will have a crack at some rescued fruit in the coming week or two. Some U-Picks around the province have them too. Or plant your own tree in the spring, like me.

ps. Kudos to Liane for advocating for cooking with fire in the Edmonton Journal today – glad I could help out.

18 Responses

  1. Evelyn says:

    I planted two Evans Cherry sticks in my yard last year. Only one survived the winter, but the other looks like it will be okay. I wonder how many years it will be before I have my own cherries. This year I had access to a hedge of cherries (something developed in Saskatchewan) and made many jars of canned cherries. I totally forgot to dry any, but if I have access through OFRE, that will be my next process. And syrup sounds good too.

  2. Sheila Z says:

    Sour cherries out shine sweet ones in any cooked recipe. I focus on sours exclusively for my major winter stash.

  3. Robin-Taine B says:

    I’ve been eyeing a neighbourhood tree, not quite sure if they were edible. I “stole” one this morning after reading your post. They are awesome! Not too sweet, but not terribly sour. I’ll be offering some kind of trade soon!

    I’ve been reading your blog for the past six months. I can’t believe the font of information you have to offer. What kind of resources (books, etc) do you use? You should consider compiling this blog into some sort of book. I would absolutely line up to purchase!

  4. Kevin says:

    Evelyn – I’ve been surprised how little time it takes for the trees to mature. I’ve often thought I was looking at a 10 year old tree that was really only 3-5 years old. Drying is on my list too.
    Sheila – Glad it’s not just me!
    Robin-Taine – glad you could find a source, hopefully your neighbor is willing to share. Always nice to hear from readers, so thanks for leaving a comment! I think the internet would be by far my biggest resource, next would be the library – I also do a pile of learning by doing. The book thing has come up frequently – we’ll see, one day maybe.

  5. Duncan Kinney says:

    Evelyn

    I have an Evans (Evan’s?) Cherry in my backyard, it’s only been in the ground there for two seasons, is about 5 feet tall and has fruited impressively this summer.

  6. I LOVE Evans cherries, a tree or two is on the list for the new backyard. I find them lovely fresh from the tree and I also find that people never give sour cherries long enough on the tree. Let them get almost TOO ripe and they are sweet as can be! We just aren’t patient enough.

    I finally had some Crimson Passion cherries on my small little bush and they were so sweet! I am very much into the bush cherries out there, they don’t take the committment of trees for space and the U of Sask varieties all winter here perfectly.

  7. Evelyn says:

    Kevin and Duncan: Yay! I’ll be looking forward to cherries soon then. In the meantime, I do hope to pick with OFRE. I haven’t seen much activity with them yet this year.

  8. Brandy says:

    Hi Kevin,
    We just moved into a house last September that has 2 very established
    Evans Cherry trees and last year I let the neighbour pick them and
    he baked us a fabulous pie. However I see we have a lovely crop
    this year and I was wondering what to do with them- so thanks for
    your ideas!! Just wondering when the cherries should be picked?
    Also do you have a recipe you are willing to share for your syrup?
    Thanks!

  9. Kevin says:

    Brandy – depends a bit on your microclimate, but right about now into mid-august they’ll be ready to go.

    Recipe. Heh. I never use them. But roughly speaking, maybe 1/4 part sugar to fruit by weight?

  10. My Evan’s cherry has very little fruit this year. Last year the entire tree was covered with blossoms and then wind blew them away. I am hoping for next year. How many pounds did you get? Anyone reading this with extra – definitely call me!
    :)
    I pick. I share.
    Valerie

  11. Robin-Taine B says:

    Cherry syrup is awesome! Had a genuine cherry coke! Thanks again.

  12. Diana says:

    Does anyone know if Evans cherry seedlings [of which I have MANY!] will produce fruit true to type? I completely agree with The Kitchen Magpie – you really do have to let them get dark, dark red. If you pick them when they’re bright red I find that the pits tend to want to stay on the tree!
    Our favourite way to use them is in a clafouti,[lind of like crepe batter with sugar, baked in a pie plate] which I had never even heard of until recently. The sour cherries are really great in it.

  13. KKozak says:

    We discovered a fantastic kitchen tool for processing Evan’s Cherries. It’s a steamer/juicer that sits on your stove and steams open your fruit, collects the juice and leaves all the flesh/pulp/seeds in the basket…no pitting or destemming. The juice comes out so hot that you could pour it right into a sterilized sealer and it’ll seal itself! We found that we needed to reduce the juice a little bit in order to get a stronger cherry flavor, but it’s worth the effort.

  14. Barb says:

    I have a question re Evans Cherry. I have 2 trees, about 13 years old and they have produced very well although they have never sent up a sucker.(??) But my mother in laws trees, planted the same year have hardly produced a cherry. They bloom but do not produce. What are we doing wrong?

  15. Kevin says:

    Barb – not sure, to be honest. Only item I can see having an impact if they do in fact bloom but not produce is pollinators. Other than that, you’ve got me stumped.

  16. Barb says:

    Well thank you, was worth a try :-)

  17. Fe says:

    BARB, for 3 seasons my cherry trees were like your mother-in-law’s. Lots of flowers but no viable cherries. They all dropped off prematurely. This season, I finally got a lot of cherries!! From what I know the Evans tree is a self pollinator so, I think your tree might just take few more seasons to mature (to support viability of fruits). The other factor might be water. We had so much rain this year, it might have help. Not sure if this is a factor.
    Good luck!

  18. brendi says:

    Try making a cherry cobbler, absolutely lucious. Or cheey ice cream, very intense flavour.

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