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Monday, November 12, 2012


Photo by: Lord-Williams 
guinda, morello, L. Prunus cerasus, Ar. kerāsīya or abb al-mulūk, Fr cerise,OE cheseberien, chiseberien, chelberyes, cheseberyes, chyselbery, chiryse, chiryse, chiryes, cerise, cheryes, Eng cherry. Spaniards claim they were the first humans to eat cherries. The Romans liked them so much that they exported them from Iberia to Rome. 

Cherries came to signify love and divination. For this author, they did come to mean “love” when cherries dangled on trees at her grasp on the Way of St. James in the blazing sun in the month of May, when water was at a premium. Those from Cabreros del Río (León) are noted for their quality. They were eaten raw in the Middle Ages and made into marmalades and liquors. 

There are English medieval recipes for thick cherry pottages variably called chesebeien, chireseye, syrosye and chyryse. Although no meat was added to them, they were not fish-day dishes because of the grease and broth are included. 

Dates Soaking in Fresh Orange Juice
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Cherries were thought to engender plague and sweet cherries ruined teeth. Sweet and sour cherries were considered good for the stomach and restored the appetite. Avicena, like Hippocrates and Galen, thought that sweet and sour were in perfect harmony in the Al-Andalus diet. Sour dark red cherries (guindas, morellos) were used. Avenzoar explains that when ripe, they are inclined to heat, which makes them consolidate their moistening potential and their astringency diminishes, to the extreme that it is barely visible. For this, ripe cherries do not provoke nausea, loosen the abdomen or generate dark blood. On occasion, they produce gases and abdominal pain. It is best to eat them before breakfast than on a full stomach. The English served them before meals with grapes, bitter plums and damsons to make men happy. [Bolens. Cuisine. 1990:190:328; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:304; 61; Curye. 1985:177-178; ES: Gutiérrez. Jun 1, 98; ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; Font. Plantas. 1999:220:344-346; Gancedo. 1994:171; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:78; Pacho. “Cocina.” 1994:155; and Rickert. 1966:61]


Haroset Garnished with Black Cherry Jam and Mint
Photo by: Lord-Williams

1 lb. dates
6 oz. almonds
3 tbsp cherry jam
1 c fresh orange juice with pulp
3 tbsp of sweet grape wine, Cointreau[3] or sherry


Scald almonds and peel them. Grind them to powder in the food processor.
Soak the dates in fresh orange juice to soften. Remove the pits and place the dates with the orange juice into a blender.

Remove the dates and mix them with the wine and cherry jam. Sprinkle the almond powder over the haroset before serving. [4]

[1] See blog titled castaña published September 6, 2012 for another Horoset recipe titled Charoset Truffles
[2] This recipe was published in Steven Florilegium’a fd-Jewish-msg dated December 26, 2002. Ms. Seton explains that it is a late period family recipe. Her family migrated from Portugal to Amsterdam in the 17th century. She “modestly” relates that this is the best haroset she has ever tasted! 
[3] This was not developed until the 19th C.
[4]Ms. Seton concludes: “As explained to me by my grandparents over 50 years ago, the concept is to make the haroset as the Torah quote - as black as pitch or morter but sweet as written in Shir Ha Shirim - shachora ani v'na'va -I am black and beautiful. We always served the "Portuguese haroset" on a small silver filigree plate which further enhanced the
hiddur mitzvah - making the mitzvah of observing pesach even more beautiful.

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