Why You Should Stop Throwing Out Cherry Leaves

Cherry season may be brief, but when it rolls around, we definitely like to enjoy it. Food Print notes that if you live in the United States, chances are you will eat 2.6 pounds of cherries in a single calendar year. This will most likely occur in the summer because peak season for cherries is July and it comes to a hard stop by the time August is ready to take its final bow. Still, when these beautiful red fruits are available in the produce section, we love to pick out the freshest cherries for those homemade sour cherry pies, turnovers, cobblers, and crisps. 

Cherries are pretty amazing. If you were to look at the best pies in every state, cherry pie would be on the list. And while the sweet fruit might be the crown and glory of a cherry tree, it isn't the only treasure. The cherry pit even became famous when an international cherry spitting contest was inaugurated in 1974, thanks to a Michigan farmer (via America's Library). Cherry leaves are possibly lower than the pit when we imagine what's useful about cherries, but they have culinary uses, and you should stop throwing them out. Here's why.

The tea on cherry leaves

It might not surprise you to learn that cherry leaves can be made into a wonderful tea, per Stone Leaf Teahouse, but did you know that you can also use the leaves to make wine? According to David Lebovitz, cherry leaves can be used to make a lovely and delicious vino that's perfect for serving at a party with friends or for sharing with a loved one. Lebovitz reveals that the French call this drink "vin de cerise" and it can be inexpensive to make.

What do you need? Lebovitz explains you will need a lot of cherry leaves that have not been sprayed with pesticides, along with some vodka, sugar, peppercorns, and red wine, preferably one you like to drink. Once you have all the ingredients, the process of mixing it all in a container with a lid is pretty straightforward, but patience is a virtue. You will need to let it set for seven days before you pop off the lid and strain the mixture. But what is left behind is a wonderful cherry leaf wine that's ready to be chilled. If you are not a fan of vodka, La Métairie Des Songes Bed & Breakfast offers a similar recipe that uses tequila in its place, and suggests three days for it to soak or "macerate."