My friend Kevin writes a wonderful blog on home canning and preserving called, most appropriately, Saving the Season (click the link to it on the left-hand column). The other day, he posted an account of discovering and descending, with fellow food-loving friends, upon an orchard specializing in sour cherries—the jammer’s delight, and piemaker’s holy grail. Sour cherries could not be more different from sweet cherries—they are pink, not red, with clear juice, smaller pits, tenderer skins and flesh, and a pronounced acidity that raises the eyebrows of anyone sampling one for the first time. But underneath the sourness is that elusive, true cherry-pie flavor that a Bing could never hope to possess. A pie is certainly on my list (a Sunday morning project, with all that pitting and lattice-weaving of delicate pastry), but long have I longed to pickle sour cherries in the Southern manner, poaching them whole in a syrup of sugar, cider vinegar, water and whole spices, then covering them with the boiling syrup and letting them sit for a good long time, until the almond essence in the pit emerges. A winter treat, with pork and duck. So, the day after Kevin and his friends harvested their cherries, I went to my produce market and found a great, fresh bin of them! I bought two kinds, all told, that day: the standard pinkish variety, and, from Washington state, a slightly darker variety. I would pickle them all, some for me to save for the cold months, and some for my CREATIVE SEASONAL COOKING class, to serve with grilled pork tenderloin and fresh corn polenta for our Southern-themed menu next week.