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Doesn’t a Fresh Cherry Muffin sound good?

Most of the cherries I bring home don’t last long enough to be turned into a recipe of any kind.

If I hid some, I would definitely make these muffins, from “The Farm to Table Cookbook” … and the conserve and the pie. Oh well, I better just head to the farmers’ market right now.

The growers at Green Bluff will be hosting the Cherry Festival this weekend and next. For details about when cherries will be ready for picking or the schedule of events, call your favorite farm or get online at

The annual Cherry Pickers Trot and Pit Spit are scheduled for July 17 starting at 7 p.m. The registration deadline is Friday. Registration can be done online this year.

Fresh Cherry Muffins

From “The Farm to Table Cookbook,” by Ivy Manning. Manning writes, “Pastry chef Lee Posey of Peal Bakery in Portland uses fresh Bing cherries (available from mid-June to as late as August) for this recipe, but says the batter has many options. Huckleberries would be great, as would be blueberries. In winter, I make them with dried cranberries and a little orange zest.”

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup whole milk

8 ounces fresh Bing cherries, pitted and roughly chopped

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup sliced almonds, raw

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or line them with paper muffins cups.

Beat the butter, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the egg and almond extract; beat to combine.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl until well combined. With a wooden spoon, add to butter mixture in two additions, alternating with the milk. Mix until the ingredients are just incorporated; do not overmix. Stir in the cherries and toasted almonds.

Use a small ice cream scoop to divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with the raw almonds and bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes in the tins. Remove muffins from tins and serve. Muffins will keep well for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks.

Yield: 12 muffins

Approximate nutrition per serving: 237 calories, 11 grams fat (4.5 grams saturated, 42 percent fat calories), 5 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrate, 36 milligrams cholesterol, 1.7 grams dietary fiber, 187 milligrams sodium.

Black Forest Macaroon Conserve

From “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving”: “Spread this delicious conserve over ice cream or cake. The flavor combination of homemade black forest cake and chocolate macaroons is scrumptious.”

4 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder

3 1/2 cups firmly packed coarsely chopped pitted sweet cherries

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 pouches (each 3 ounces) liquid pectin (see note)

1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

4 tablespoons Kirsch or cherry brandy or 1 teaspoon brandy extract

Prepare canner, jars and lids.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine cherries, lemon juice and cocoa mixture.

Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add coconut and Kirsch; mix well. Skim off foam.

Ladle hot conserve into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary by adding hot conserve. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered by 1 to 2 inches with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes (adjusting for elevation, see note). Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Note: Some brands of liquid pectin direct you to stir in the pectin after boiling the fruit-sugar mixture for 1 minute. It is advisable to follow the directions given by the brand you are using when preparing this recipe.

Be sure to adjust processing time for elevation. At elevations of 1,001 to 3,000 feet, add five minutes to the processing time. For elevations of 3,001 to 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes. For basic canning instructions, consult an updated “Ball Blue Book,” “The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” or the National Center for Home Food Preservation at http://www.uga .edu/nchfp/publications/ publications_usda.html.

Yield: 7 (8-ounce) jars

Approximate nutrition per 2-ounce serving: 139 calories, less than 1 gram fat (4 percent fat calories), less than 1 gram protein, 34 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber, 4 milligrams sodium.

Fresh Cherry Pie

Some pie connoisseurs prefer sour cherries; “Cooking Light” editors love the way sweet ones worked in this filling. A cherry pitter makes quick work of preparing them. Editors recommend the OXO Good Grips Cherry Pitter ($12), which also does a good job of pitting olives.

2 tablespoons uncooked quick-cooking tapioca

6 cups pitted sweet cherries

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)

Cooking spray

2 tablespoons water

1 large egg white

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Place tapioca in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Combine tapioca, cherries, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; toss well. Let cherry mixture stand 30 minutes; stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll 1 (9-inch) dough portion into an 11-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray, allowing dough to extend over edge of plate.

Spoon cherry mixture and any remaining liquid into dough. Roll remaining (9-inch) dough portion into a 12-inch circle. Cut dough into 12 (1-inch-wide) strips; arrange in a lattice pattern over cherry mixture. Fold edges under; crimp.

Combine 2 tablespoons water and egg white in a small bowl. Brush the egg white mixture over dough on top of pie, and sprinkle dough evenly with 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Shield edges of pie crust with foil, and bake an additional 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is thick and bubbly. Cool pie in pan for 45 minutes on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Nutrition per serving (from the magazine): 282 calories, 9.9 grams fat (4 grams saturated, 32 percent fat calories) 2.5 grams protein, 47.3 grams carbohydrate, 7 milligrams cholesterol, 1.7 grams dietary fiber.