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Whether fresh cherries are a favorite or a treat  you've yet to try, the time to enjoy them is now.

Door County cherry orchards are a hive of activity as visitors and locals alike flock to the peninsula to sample the area's bountiful harvest. With 2,500 acres of cherries Door County is the fourth largest cherry producer in the country.

For cherry lovers, it's those tart bright red cherries that are so cherished in the baking world. Tart cherry production for Wisconsin’s fall harvest is forecast at 238 million pounds, and processed cherries account for 99% of the state’s cherry production, according to the USDA. The majority of the state’s crop comes from Door County, where harvest season began in July.

Best of all, tart cherries hold their shape better when baked (no one loves a gloppy cherry pie), and their tartness allows bakers to adjust the sweetness of a recipe to suit their tastes.

Wondering what to do with those cherries you brought home from the orchard? Here are some recipes from Door County businesses to help you out.

Cherry Almond Scones

Courtesy of Village Green Lodge

3/4 c. dried cherries 

1 c. boiling water 

1 egg 

3/4 c. low-fat buttermilk or half and half 

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 

1/4 tsp. almond extract 

2 c. flour 

1/4 c. sugar 

1 tbsp. baking powder 

6 tbsp. butter 

1/4 c. chopped almonds

Cherry Butter Ingredients:

1/2 c. butter, softened 

1/4 c. cherry preserves 

Place dried cherries into boiling water and set aside. In a large bowl, mix egg, half and half, vanilla extract and almond extract. In a food processor, blend flour, sugar, baking powder and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Drain cherries and stir into egg mixture along with crumb mixture and almonds until blended.

Place heaping tablespoons of the finished mixture onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° F for 12–15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with cherry jam or cherry butter.

To make cherry butter, stir preserves and butter together in a medium bowl until blended.

Bumbleberry Pie

Courtesy of Chef Terri Milligan

1-1/2 lbs. tart cherries, pitted, or 3 c. frozen, pitted tart cherries

3 c. assorted berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries 

1/4 c. cornstarch 

2 tbsp. flour 

1 c. + 2 tsp. sugar 

3 tbsp. milk or cream 

1 large egg 

2  tbsp. coarse sanding sugar or raw sugar 

Pie dough (use a favorite recipe, enough for a double crusted pie)

Toss the cherries and berries with the cornstarch, 1 c. sugar, and 2 tbsp. of flour.

Roll out half of the pie dough. Lightly spray a pie tin with non-stick spray. Gently place the dough in the tin, making sure there is at least a 1-inch over lap of pastry on the edge. Place fruit in pie. 

Roll out the remaining dough. Prepare the egg glaze by combining the milk or cream with a large egg.   

Mix to combine. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg glaze on the rim of the pie. Place the top dough layer on the pie. Press around the pie to adhere the edges. Trim and crimp edges.

With remaining dough, make seven cookie cutter decorations for the top of the pie.

With a pastry brush, glaze the top of the pie with the egg glaze. Place the decorations evenly around the pie. Make two slits with a knife in the middle of the pie to release steam. Sprinkle sanding sugar or raw sugar on top of the pie.

Place pie in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. This will harden the crust so that it has less of a tendency to shrink when baking. Bake in a 375º F preheated oven for one hour or until the top of the pie is nicely browned. Make sure to place the pie on a baking sheet in case some of the mixture comes out of the edge. Cool for one hour before serving.

Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Courtesy of Cherry De-Lite/Country Ovens Ltd.

8oz. rapid whey

1 c. mixed berries

1 c. spinach

1 banana

1 c. mango

1 tbsp. flax seed

Combine ingredients in a blender to the smoothness of your liking. Add ice or frozen berries if desired.

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