Growing season is in full swing, and yesterday I purchasedÂ a bunch of fresh fruit: peaches, plums, watermelon, and a favorite of mine, Rainier cherries. Since cherry is a common descriptor of red wine, Iâ€™m interested in getting better aquatinted with this tasty fruit. Sure, Iâ€™ve eaten cherries all my life, but yesterday I wondered whether or not Iâ€™d ever really tasted them. Probably not, I decided, so now my goal is to slow down and take time to truly taste the foods Iâ€™m eating.
Popping a cherry in my mouth, I bite down to splitÂ openÂ the fruit and remove the seed. The fleshy pulp crunches as I chew, and a refreshing sweetness floods my tastebuds. The combination of tart and sweet is irresistible, and before I know what’s happened, Iâ€™ve swallowed the cherry.
So I try another. This time I split the cherry in half, then smell the pulp inside. To my nose, it smells slightly sweet but mostly like wet grass. I’ve heard that 90% of taste is also about smell, yet as I place the fruit in my mouth, I’m still a little surprised not to taste grass. Instead, the cherry comes alive with juicy sweetness, and the acid makes my mouth water. After I swallow, a pleasant tanginess lingers in my mouth. I keep eating cherries until Iâ€™ve finished a hand full.
After today’s cherry tasting experiment, I have a better understanding of the sensory experience of cherries. But Iâ€™m sure each variety has its own subtle flavor profile. There are wild cherries, choke cherries, sour cherries, and even black cherries. Also, when using descriptors for wine, Iâ€™d like to know the difference between fresh and processed cherries, like cherry jam, candied cherries, even baked cherry pie. This could get interesting . . . and tasty!