Monday, August 23, 2010

Racing Cherries - a Guest Blog Event

Doesn't that sound special...a Guest Blog Event? NoHandle, who has blogged here before in a wonderful way is pretty special to me and he has sent on a post that will intrigue you. Seeing as I live in wine country this one will be easy for me to replicate. I might have to use blackberries...we finally got some heat today...high ripe blackberries will surely follow.

Give this one a try, especially if you can gather a group of friends to try it with.

Thanks NoHandle! Keep 'em coming. XO Elle

Racing Cherries

This blog has a lot of baking, so by way of contrast I wanted to contribute a brief blog entry about food, but one that is fun, and does not require actual cooking, although there is a small bit of preparation. This was something my friend Runt and I discovered together one summer evening, and we found it so much fun (particularly after a few glasses) that we pass it on to other fun loving foodies. Most recently we shared, and experimented, with a couple of friends, and in the process went on to expand to other fruit, which we found to display different behaviors. All were eager to repeat the experiments. I’m saving a description of the behaviors for the end of the article. Don’t peek!

We tried several different sparkling wines (which I will call champagne as a generic), including Barefoot Bubbly Brut, and Cristalino Brut Cava, CodornĂ­u Brut Cava, possibly a Bonny Doon sparkling, and a Prosecco whose name is now lost. An Asti might provide slightly different results, as might sweeter wines. By the way, these are all inexpensive sparkling wines that are good enough to enjoy drinking, even without the silliness. We are not wine snobs. Don’t get the wrong impression from the number of bottles, these “experiments” were conducted over several evenings, and no one had to drive home.

Champagne flutes (one per diner; Crate and Barrel has nice but cheap 9 oz. ones, for about $4)

1 pound of cherries (any variety)
Smaller quantities of blackberries or red raspberries
Champagne (one or more bottles; 4 or 5 servings per bottle) Well, sparkling wine really, but as I said earlier, I’m going to use that as a generic term throughout this blog.

Open the Champagne (Use care so as not to injure anyone with a flying cork.)
Place one cherry (or other fruit) in each flute
Partially fill the flute with Champagne

Now just sit back and enjoy the activities, noting which cherry moves faster (this is the racing from the title). Share with all your friends.

Optional variations:
Discover which other fruit has the physical properties to mimic this behavior. Hint: dried cherries even work, but I don’t think grapes did. You may need to empty and re-fill the flutes to keep the action brisk, and add to the enjoyment.

What you should see:
What you will observe is the cherry first sinking to the bottom of the flute, then gathering bubbles and floating to the top. If it is not overly ripe, the cherry will sink after a few minutes, only to rise again. It will cycle five or six times if you have enough patience, or are not too thirsty. The berries tend to float, but will flip over every so often. Feel free to experiment with other fruit (Hint: don’t bother with star fruit) and beverages; beer might work; try lagers and ales to see.

Scientifically, it’s all about physics; specific gravity and carbonation. But after several evenings of experimentation, none of the “scientists” involved had a coherent theory as to why any of this worked. Science is about predictability, and we were able to successfully predict most of the behavior, and that we would have fun verifying those predictions.

Play, but play responsibly,



  1. Huh. I wonder if raspberries would race faster, having more crevices on their surface area...

    I love goofy stuff like this; we used to play with raisins and Martinelli's like this when we were kids. (WHY we had raisins in our Martinelli's, I have zero idea...)

  2. Anonymous4:19 PM

    Raspberries and blackberries (of the fruit rather than phone variety) float, but flip over now and then. But try for yourself, your "mileage" may vary.
    I have not tried rasins, let me know.

    Thanks for the response, NoHandle.

  3. Anonymous11:38 AM

    My dear, much loved NoHandle, what a great post! I loved not only the content, but the really cool way you presented it. The hair in the picture reminds me of a friend of yours that I know.

    Wishing you were here. You could help pack. ;-)

    Love to you and to Elle,