Ciliegie e Amarene Posted by on Jul 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

Questa è stata un’ottima estate per molti tipi di frutta! This has been a great summer for many types of fruit!

The first fruit to ripen in our village are le ciliegie (the cherries), which are fairly small and dark but very sweet, and they appear at the end of May. There are lots of cherry trees in the village, most of them very old, and some are quite impressive in stature, but of course the fruit isn’t so easy to reach and all the nicest looking cherries always seem to be at the top of the tree! Fortunately Dina, la nostra vicina (our neighbor), whose land borders on ours, has got two sweet cherry trees growing in her vineyard. One afternoon, having of course asked her permission, we went round with our ladder and a couple of carrier bags and I sent my dear husband up into the tree while I stayed safely down on the ground holding the ladder and trying to catch the cherries that were raining down on my head. My husband is 1.88m tall and I am only 1.55m, and having much longer arms than me he can, naturally, reach further, at least that’s my excuse for staying on terra firma.  In less than an hour we had filled our bags with over two Kilos of fruit! When we had finished we knocked on Dina’s door to say thank you, and to put un paio di manciate (a couple of handfuls) of cherries in her apron.

Although picking the cherries took less than an hour, snocciolarle (stoning them) took much longer, and as I don’t like wearing rubber gloves I ended up with very unladylike black fingernails and hands stained purple for several days afterwards. When I had finished the slow fiddly job of separating the cherries from their stones, I sprinkled them with sugar and left them overnight. The following morning they were ready for making into jam, and so I sweated over a hot stove for two hours boiling them slowly, adding a little more sugar, and the juice of half a lemon. The results were well worth the effort however, and I made eight jars of very tasty confettura di ciliegie (cherry jam).

A few weeks later we had a glut of amarene (sour cherries), which are used in the food industry to make lo sciroppo di amarene (sour cherry syrup), il gelato di amarene (sour cherry ice cream), amarene sciroppate (sour cherries in syrup), and of course la confettura di amarene (sour cherry jam). Once again I went and had a chat with Dina, who has also got due alberi di amarene (two sour cherry trees), to see if I could pick a ‘few’. This time I didn’t need my husband’s help because the amarene trees were much smaller than the sweet cherry trees, and they were così carichi di frutta (so laden with fruit) that the branches were conveniently bowed down to the ground. It took me just half an hour to pick two kilos of amarene, but another two hours per snocciolarle! (to stone them!). Following the same process as for the sweet cherry jam I made another eight jars of confettura di amarene, one of which, of course, went to Dina in payment for the ingredients. For now I’m leaving both types of jam to mature a little, but I’m really curious to taste the difference between them, for purely scientific reasons of course!

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  1. Rick:

    Ciao Serena, two friends of mine were having a heated discussion about the proper
    way to say a simple expression. They were trying to say one hundred angels…
    The argument was is it “cento angeli” or “cent’ angeli” We figured we would come
    to the expert (that’s you !!) Grazie mille !!!

  2. Serena:

    Ciao Rick, well! This is tricky. We do say “cent’anni” because this is a very common
    colloquial expression e.g. “non lo vedo da cent’anni” (I haven’t seen him for ages), but I would
    personally use the form “cento angeli” in this case. I’m intrigued why would you use such an unusual expression.

  3. Rick:

    Salve Serena,
    It’s funny that you chose to use “cent’ anni”, as that was the same example that was in the argument my friends were having To make a long story short. My friend has always wanted to own a vineyard, but thought that it would never happen. He would always say it would take the power of 100 angels to make that miracle happen. Well, now the probability exists and he said would like to name the vineyard “one hundred angels” in honor of that and his proud italian heritage.. in italian of course !! Hence the argument for what would be correct. Cent’Angeli seems to look and flow better, but Cento Angeli seems to be correct. Knowing the background would you still think to use Cento Angeli?

    Thanks again,

  4. Serena:

    Salve Rick,
    Now that I’m aware of the reason behind the spelling, I would go for ‘Cent’Angeli’, as it flows better, or even ‘Centangeli’, all one word. In fact, there is a famous liqueur made from many herbs infused in alcohol called ‘Centerbe’, from ‘cento erbe’. Being a name, you can play with the spelling.
    Auguri and keep me informed!

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