I just got back from summer camp. Up until this weekend I had never gone to camp nor had I ever camped out in a tent. I can finally say that I can at long last cross those two items off my bucket list thanks to my dear friend Rachel. For her 40th birthday she invited all her friends to swim in the river, bake bread, screen print t-shirts and of course, have a dance party. I never really thought that I missed out on much not doing the whole sleep away camp thing when I was a kid but now I feel slightly regretful that I never got to experience that very important coming of age ritual that most kids take for granted. I was worried that I would feel awkward and uncomfortable being around a group of people I didn’t know for the weekend but it was the best possible format to make some new connections and learn some new skills. I am not the best socializer and I dread those initial moments at a party when you are trying not to hide in the corner with the one person you know and think of something to talk about. It was so much easier to make a connection with others when you are occupied with a task. I learned the art of astrophotography, helped prepare breakfast for 50 people and have a super cute t-shirt that I made myself to remember the weekend by. I may have taken longer than most but I’m so glad for the wonderful memories that the weekend brought.
To continue with the do-it-yourself theme I decided to take the beautiful dark cherries that I picked up at the market and preserve them into a delicious pickle/drinking vinegar. If you’ve never tried a drinking vinegar, you have been missing out. There are lots of different recipes out there for shrubs and vinegars that you can use in cocktails but I’ve kept it simple here and as a bonus the fruit can be used in your favorite dishes once the vinegar is infused. Drinking vinegars are shockingly refreshing and are great palate cleansers. I like the subtle flavor of rice vinegar but apple cider vinegars also make a great drink. I like to snack on the cherries straight from the jar but they are great spooned over yogurt or ice cream. They also add a nice touch of sweetness and acid to salads. The longer you let these sit in the refrigerator the tastier they get and they will keep for up to 6 months as long as you keep the cherries submerged in the brine.
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon whole cardamom pods
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 pound dark cherries, pitted
- to serve:
- club soda or sparkling water
- Divide the cherries between 3 pint sized mason jars. Combine the vinegar, sugar, water, cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, pour the brine evenly over the cherries making sure the cherries are covered with the liquid. Let sit for at least 24 hours before serving.
- To serve, add 2-3 tablespoons of the syrup and a few cherries to a large glass filled with ice and top off with club soda and a squeeze of lime.