I was laying in my hammock earlier this week breathing in the sweet scent of cherry blossoms from my Carmine Jewel cherry tree. Enjoying the warm afternoon in my hammock is one of the primary joys of creating a private oasis in the city.
I planted my cherry tree two years ago, and I have visions of it growing to be it’s full height of 3 meters and shading the hammock with it’s long waving branches. This cultivar can be grown as a bush – it’ll grow to about 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide – or it can be trimmed to a more tree-like form. Mine was carefully pruned by the growers (Bylands in British Columbia) to create an appealing shape that will some day provide not only a beautiful display of white springtime blossoms, but a productive and attractive shade tree.
The Carmine Jewel (Prunus cerasus ‘SK Carmine Jewel’) was developed at the University of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada. A cross between Mongolian Cherry and the Tart Cherry, it’s hardy to zone 2a and has done well for its two winters here with me in Edmonton. It’s self-fertile, so I don’t have to worry about it being pollinated by a like-minded cherry elsewhere in the neighbourhood.
It will have tart cherries by mid-July which will mellow into a smoother tasting fruit by mid to late August. I prefer to pick them later on for eating fresh, but earlier for making jellies. I’ve heard they make great pies.
Recipe: Carmine Jewel Cherry Jelly
6 cups cherries
1 cup water
1 pkg powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar
Wash and stem cherries and place in saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and simmer 15-20 minutes until soft. Mash fruit to press out juice and strain. Combine juice (approximately 3 1/2 cups) with pectin crystals. Heat on high and stir until boiling. Stir in sugar and bring to a vigorous boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour in sterilized jars and seal.