Winter seems to be in a spiteful mood. While I and so many others are champing at the bit for spring, the forecast for this weekend—cherry blossom festival weekend—calls for up to an inch of wet snow. Last year, we were sashaying around the tidal basin beneath a shower of pale pink petals. This year…
Like I said, spiteful. It’s enough to put you in the Doldrums. You’re probably acquainted with the Doldrums. I mean, we’ve all been there before, at least once or twice, probably a lot more. The best description of the Doldurms that I know of can be found in one of my favorite children’s books (and if you have never read it, you should, no matter your age). But essentially it’s this: zero energy, zero motivation, minimal productivity.
This seems to be the time of year when I get stuck in the doldrums the most—that transitional period between winter and spring. The garden is waking up but still has a long way to go. I want to be walking around in a tee-shirt but instead I’m still wearing my fleece. My brain seems to be working at half-capacity. I need weapons to fight the doldrums.
The good news is, I have them. They are:
1. a blender
It may sound silly, even simplistic, but I say don’t discount the benefits of a good fruit smoothie or shake to lift you out of the doldrums and restart your engine. The question is, what fruit? Citrus is on its way out and (at least where I live) it’s too early for strawberries. So here is where I turn to my biggest weapon of all: frozen sour cherries.
Previously on this blog, I have talked about my hoarding tendencies. As it turns out, this can be a good thing. Sour cherry season doesn’t come around for another three months, but I still have a good quart, maybe more, in my freezer from last year’s harvest. I am something of a sour cherry fiend. This
addiction affection dates back to my childhood years, when my maternal grandmother used to feed my sister and me small spoonfuls of her homemade dried sour cherries preserved in liquor.
When I moved to Michigan in the late 1980s, I found myself in the sour cherry capital of the U.S. It was heaven. I loved the cherries’ juicy softness and their bracing tartness. In fact, I came to prefer them over sweet cherries and enjoyed eating them raw, even if they were meant for pies. When we moved to northern Virginia I was relieved to see sour cherries at my local farmers’ market at the end of June and beginning of July. So every summer during their short season I buy sour cherries by the quart, pit them, and freeze them. They last beautifully in the freezer and I use them all year long in pies and cakes and more.
Right now I am using my sour cherries for this refreshing cherry-yogurt shake, which I have christened Cherries In the Snow. It’s so easy that it’s hardly a recipe at all. But it’s filled with good things—protein, calcium, vitamins, and immune-boosting probiotics from the yogurt; and disease-fighting antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, and other nutrients from the cherries. Plus, it’s a cheerful shade of pink, not to mention lip-smacking good.
p.s. I love the patterned glass tumblers in the photo below. I found six of them at an antique shop in Honor, Michigan last summer. They are sturdy and feel good in your hands. And they are just the right size for this shake.
(copyright 2011 Domenica Marchetti)
If you don't have frozen sour cherries on hand, you can use any other frozen fruit, such as sweet cherries, strawberries, or raspberries. Be sure to adjust the amount of honey to suit your taste.
- 1 cup pitted frozen sour cherries
- 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
- 2 to 4 tablespoons orange blossom (or other mild) honey
- 1/4 cup milk
Measure the cherries, yogurt, and honey into the pitcher of a stand blender and process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add a splash or two of milk if the shake is too thick. Pour into a glass and enjoy.