Oh So Cherry!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Years ago, my family lived just north of Seattle, Washington. Every June, as my youngest daughter's birthday comes around, I am reminded of the year she was born. We made a trip over the pass into eastern Washington to visit an old friend of my Grandmother-in-law -- Pete, Pete the Cherry Man!! June is cherry season and we came home with TONS of cherries to be processed. Oh, those cherries were so wonderful and I spent many, many hours getting them all processed before I delivered. It was hot, back-breaking work for this 9 months pregnant momma but was so worth having all those wonderful cherries to enjoy......I think we had cherries for a couple of years. These days my cherries come from the grocery store and I don't process them like I once did but I always look forward to cherry season!


Since it is cherry season, I thought I'd share some Cherry Tricks & Tips (and a recipe too)!!

Fresh Eating: When you bring your cherries home, wash under cool tap water before eating or using in recipes. Fresh cherries may be kept for eating uncovered in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 3-5 days, taking them out about an hour before serving for the best flavor. Cherries will absorb odors, so keep other strong-smelling foods covered.

Pitting: To easily remove a cherry pit when eating the fresh fruit, slice open each fruit with a knife and pop out the pit. If you prefer to keep the cherries while, a variety of simple-to-use pitting devices are available at most kitchen supply stores, or try one of the following home methods:
* Using a paper clip or bobby pin ~ Start with a new or thoroughly cleaned clip/pin. Insert the loop into the center of the cherry, gently press around the pit and lift up.
* Using a knife blade ~ Gently press fruit until it cracks. Continue to gently squeeze the fruit between your thumb and a finger, and extract the pit with a knife. This technique crushes the fruit but it works well if you are making pies, sauces or jams.

Freezing: To freeze whole cherries, place in single layer of washed and dried cherries (do not remove stems) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dryness is key, so pat away any excess water before freezing. Place frozen cherries in an airtight container or freezer bag, and store in the freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw frozen cherries in the refrigerator rather than heating them to room temperature - to maintain the fruit's juice and firmness. For a special frosty treat, serve slightly frozen cherries.

Canning Cherries: Whether sweet or sour, all cherries may be canned for later use. Here are the basic steps for canning them.
*Select freshly harvested cherries with deep uniform color and ideal maturity for eating.
*Stem and wash. If desired, pit and treat cherries with ascorbic acid color keeper solution; drain. If preserved unpitted, prick skins on opposite sides with a clean needle to prevent splitting.
*Place raw cherries in jars. Cover with light syrup, amde by boiling a mixture of 1-1/2 c sugar and cups water. Leave a 1/2-inch headspace in jars. Water-bath process pints and quarts for 25 minutes, according to canning instructions.
*Once processed, remove jars from canner with a jar lifter and place on a towel or rack. Do not retighten screw bands. Air-cool for 12-24 hours. Remove screw bands and check lid seals. If the center of the lid is indented, wash, dry. label and store in a clean, cool, dark place. Use within 1 year.

Brandied Cherries: Brandy-soaked cherries are an irresistible topper for ice cream, pies and slices of grilled pound or angel food cake. Combine 1 quart of brandy and 2 cups sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add 2 pounds of stemmed and pitted cherries. Store in tightly covered jars in the refrigerator for 6 weeks before using. Cherries will keep, refrigerated. for up to 1 year.


Cherry Waldorf Salad
(Printable Version)

2 large Fuji apples, cored, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 c. pitted sweet cherries
1/2 c. dried cherries (cranberries can be used too)
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. sour cream
2 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp salt

In a large salad bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Stir in celery, cherries, cranberries and almonds. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, honey and salt until well blended. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 10 (1/2 cup each).

10 comments:

  1. Ann said...:

    OOh those canned ones look so yummy!! Cherries can be pretty pricy here in Kansas so if I find a sale I'm all over it. How special it would be to have a friend with a cherry tree!!
    Ann

  1. Tina said...:

    Hey Gail! It's been a while! Pray all is well with you and your family!
    I've never been a big fan of cherries, but my daughters are. I'm definitely going to copy this information for them! Thank you for sharing!

  1. Love your cherry tips Gail, your jars are beautiful! I'm with Ann, they are so expensive around here, just waiting for a good sale on them which is usually around the 4th of July:@)

  1. I love fresh cherries!!! And I am so missing my Rainier cherries right now! I'm not going to be in Washington at cherry time this year. :-(

  1. Olive Cooper said...:

    I need to start cooking with fresh cherries. They are just not something our family ever ate but are available here now but are expensive. Thanks bunches for all the tips. It's great to see you today!

  1. I love cherries, especially cherry turnovers. I just may have to buy a cherry turnover at the grocery store today :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  1. Shug said...:

    Cherries...I like everything with a cherry on top.
    Have never seen them growing, but I would think it would be a beautiful site...
    My favorite way to eat cherries is in a cherry pie...
    Have a great weekend.
    shug

  1. Linda Stubbs said...:

    Hi Gail.....thank you so much for coming over. Loveeeeeeee cherries. Our son's have cherry trees, but our weather has been so dry so there won't be any cherry cobblers this year. I love the idea of canning. I think I did that once when I was first starting to can.......I did everything!!!!

    Your jars are absolutely beautiful! I would keep them our on a shelf for all to see!!!!!!!

    Hugs, Linda

  1. bj said...:

    Ummm...I do love me some cherries.
    This sounds delicious...thanks for all the good tips.
    xo bj

  1. Jacqueline said...:

    Your cherries are so gorgeous lined up on the shelf in their jars! I just love cherries. I was out picking strawberries today and the naughty birds were wreaking havoc on the cherry tree and they aren't even ripe yet! I am going to have to try hanging my empty cds in the cherry tree like I did the apple tree last year to see if I can get them to leave them alone. We didn't get a huge crop this year and I would like to eat a few too!

    The Waldorf salad sounds great. I will try that when ours come on.

Post a Comment

I ALWAYS enjoy reading your comments -- thank-you for taking the time to leave one.