Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cherry Days

Partly in honor of our mother's visit, and partly to celebrate the local harvest possibilities, we took our kids plus one

out to a nearby town to pick cherries yesterday. Fortunately for us, the weekend's heat spike had been replaced by more seasonable weather, so it was just hot out there, not "blistering."

In what seemed like a very limited time, we picked well over 20 pounds of lovely early sweet cherries.
Those who didn't pick found plenty to occupy their time. After all the cherries had been picked, all the older kids had been annoyed by younger ones, nearly everyone had eaten too many cherries, and we were wiped out, we headed back home.

There they got sorted into "use immediately," "will keep longer" and "make into jam" piles. Denise called to ask how I processed them and I made a plug for processing them by putting them into the stomachs of our neighbors. That's one of my favorite approaches to bounty.

I finally got a chance to try something from Mes Confitures, and made a discovery. The very thing that makes the recipes annoying to me in general -- their rather "puttery" nature -- is perfect for the kind of exhaustion following a hot day out with lots of family. I chopped and macerated, smashed and simmered and popped a piece of parchment on top and then the mixture and I went to bed in our respective places.

After Eric left for work, but before anyone else was fully functional (thank you, Fed Ex, for calling my house twice at 6:20 am), I had the jam processed and the jars cooling. We'll see how they taste.


el said...

Hey Stef and Denise,

Tip jar: store your cherries in a container of water, and change the water daily until you eat them all. It's something I learned from cherry growers around here in Michigan cherry country! It works really well with them, and grapes too.

That said, we're a couple months from cherries here so my mouth is watering...yum, so jellus!

Susan said...

Your cherry jam looks fabulous. How can you bear to use the jam. It looks like a work of art. Love the pics, too.

Kristin said...

Where is this cherry picking farm? It looks like a lovely day to me.

Stefaneener said...

El, thanks for the tip! They're going so fast down little mouths that we may not have any to hang on to. I'm still thinking ice cream, but I have to get a pitter!

Susan, it is pretty. It's less functional as jam but very functional as a snack eaten with a spoon. Ask me how I know?

Kristin, it's Maggiore's, in Brentwood. They have an aggregate web site for all the pick your own places out there. I can see going out there becoming a more-frequent thing for jam, etc. I'd like to get some tart cherries to dry.

suzee said...

You are such a wonder.

Thanks for the reminder about Maggiore's. We may go this weekend.

Oh, and what a breathtaking photo that first one is, in so many ways. Sweeter than the cherries.

allisonmariecat said...

Oh, delicious! We just picked our own strawberries, and the resulting difference in jam taste is amazing. Cherries would be a blast.

I love Mes Confitures, but the recipes are a bit involved. Are you actually making your own green apple jelly to use instead of pectin? I'm going to try her strawberries with mint and black pepper next weekend (have to go back to pick more strawberries!).

Stefaneener said...

Suzee, yes, oh yes.

Allison -- not yet, I used commercial pectin but not enough sugar. I must get some bulk Pomona's. . . But in the long run, really, how much harder would the green apple jelly be? She means ripe green apples, right?

Toni (WyomingMom) said...

Your Jam looks fantastic!