Do you remember the epic amounts of local fruit I picked/purchased and froze last summer? During the summer of 2020, I was unemployed and there was a global pandemic, so I went all in on the local foods my family loves to eat… including 120 pounds (that’s right, one hundred and twenty pounds) of local tart cherries. You can read more about my obsession with local food in this blog post. In a very brief summary, eating locally grown food is better for you (more nutritious) and better for your community.
If you’re dreaming of fruit season and want to start thinking about buying and preserving more local food, I’ve created two free ebooks to help you with these goals: one to help you Eat More Local Food and a second to help you Preserve Local Food for Eating All Year Long
Last summer I froze so much fruit… this much to be more precise:
- 120 pounds of tart cherries
- 50 pounds of blueberries
- 30 pounds of strawberries
Now that it’s the middle of winter and I’ve realized that I’m still not very good at eating local food during the winter months (you can read more about this realization and subsequent goal to do better in this recent blog post), I’m pivoting my focus to creatively using all of this delicious frozen fruit.
Now, my kids absolutely love frozen tart cherries. It’s the preferred snack in our house… a simple bowl of frozen cherries. There’s something about the tartness and frozen sugars that melt in your mouth in the most magical way. If you’re never tried eating a frozen tart cherry, I highly recommend it.
Another favorite food around here is something called a dutch baby. It’s like a pancake, but with a whole lot less flour and a whole lot more eggs, which makes it practically a health food in my book. We first discovered dutch babies in… you guessed it, the Netherlands… specifically in December 2017, at a rustic restaurant that was connected to a gorgeous little outdoor ice skating rink in the middle of Amsterdam. Here we had a savory version with bacon. It wasn’t until we got home and I started obsessively looking for recipes that I realized most Americans make them with fruit and powdered sugar.
For several years, my go to topping was fresh red raspberries (which is pretty much my favorite food ever… you should have seen the massive quantities of raspberries I ate during my first pregnancy), but as my commitment to waste free principles grew over the past couple of years, so did my disappointment with the fact that I can only buy fresh berries at my local grocery stores in single use plastic clamshells. In the summer, I will happily return to fresh red raspberries (picked in my backyard or purchased from the farmers market) on top of my dutch baby, but I’ve begun experimenting with alternative fruit toppings that will reduce my waste. And let me tell you that our new favorite topping is tart cherries!
(makes one large or two small, enough for two people; we double this for our family of four)
6 Tbs unsalted butter
4 large eggs
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup half-and-half
4 cups frozen tart cherries (or other fruit of your choice)
Extra butter for melting on top
Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
- Divide the 6 tablespoons butter between two 6-inch cast-iron skillets (or one larger skillet; mine is 10 inches and works great) and melt it in the oven while it preheats
- In a blender or food processor, whir together the eggs, flour, and half-and-half
- Once butter has melted, use a brush (or tilt the pan) to coat the sides of the pan with butter
- Pour the batter into the skillets over the melted butter. Slide the skillets into the oven, and bake for 25 minutes
- While the pancake is cooking, place the frozen tart cherries into a small pot and cook over medium heat. You want them to fully defrost and start to simmer, but don’t cook away all of the liquid
- Remove the puffed pancakes from the oven, transfer them to a plate or shallow bowl, top with additional butter (if desired), tart cherries, lemon juice, and dust with powdered sugar
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Don’t worry if yours don’t rise as much as some of these photos. Especially when I use whole wheat flour, sometimes the rise isn’t as impressive (like in the photo immediately above), but I can assure you they still taste delicious. If the rise and presentation is important to you, try using white flour and/or substituting whole milk for some of the half and half.
How might you modify your favorite recipes to include seasonal, local food? Please share your ideas, tried and tested recipes, and challenges in the comments.