Friday, June 13, 2014

Cherry Picking Day and What I Made

My 3 year old picking cherries with me.
My Mother-in-Law's cherry tree is exploding with beautiful cherries this year.  My kids spent Sunday through Wednesday at her house this week, and so that gave me two opportunities to pick tons of cherries (drop-off and pick-up).  I brought home 4 gallon bags full of cherries the first time, and a 2 1/2 gallon bucket full the second time.  And seriously, people, my heart was so happy.

My 4 year old "pitting" cherries after I picked them up.
I had so many cherries and I wanted to try so many things.  I have never owned a Cherry Pitter before, and actually I had no idea these things even existed until I searched for it online.  I bought this one in red.  It works wonderfully, and it is small enough to store easily in my already over-crowded drawers.  Both of my girls took turns pitting the cherries, too, as it is a pretty safe little tool.

Maraschino Cherries

On Monday, I made maraschino cherries (did you know commercial maraschino cherries are soaked in bleach-yuck!).  I just spent 5 minutes searching Pinterest for this recipe to share with you all until I realized that I had actually pinned it.  Geez.  I think I need more sleep.  Anyway, I used this recipe for my cherries, and I used concord grape juice instead of cherry juice because of the cost.  These are amazing, and the juice is tasty and perfect to use in Shirley Temple drinks.  I canned three tiny jars, and one large jar using these directions.  If you are looking to try canning, and don't want to spend a lot of money, I bought this kit for just $15 and used my own large pot for the hot water bath.  I'm sure the fancy equipment and pots would be nice, but this is some great starter equipment.

Then I moved on to the pie filling.  In total, I made 3 batches of 5 cups each (enough for 3 pies).  I used this recipe (this lady's pictures are amazing, don't you think?).  I froze two batches, and put the third in a jar in the fridge to be used this weekend. 

I made three jars of cherry jam using this recipe.  I also canned these, though we are already flying through our first jar!  SO delicious.

Finally, I made some popsicles for the kiddos using 1/2 cup leftover grape juice, 1/2 cup chopped cherries, and 1/2 cup chopped strawberries.  Above is the picture of all my final goods ;)

I'm super proud of myself for spending time making all of these and actually canning some things all on my own!  My fingertips were brownish for a couple days from pitting all those cherries, though!

Have you ever made anything with fresh cherries?  Are any fruit trees ripening where you live?

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