Cherry Picking Time
Oh my goodness! We sure have had a bumper crop of sour cherries this year on our trees. It seemed that just yesterday, Torrey and Heli planted two little sour cherry trees in the front yard, and now just look!!
Our very favorite way to eat sour cherries is fresh from the tree for a treat - so tart and delicious! While this seems strange to some of our friends, I was having a conversation with an Iranian friend last week, who told me that in her country, the most popular way to eat the cherries is fresh from the tree. (Of course I invited her to come over and pick some cherries for her family.) She explained that the next most popular thing that is done with the cherries is to make the wildly popular sour cherry fruit leather for a delicious sour snack. Followed by preserves and cakes and also a special savory recipe for Sour Cherry Persian Rice which is a big hit. The ingredient list includes Basmati rice, fresh whole sour cherries, saffron, maybe cinnamon. I am going to research this recipe!
Cherry picking is actually a three part process. You need to remember this before you get started, so that you don't put all of your time and energy into picking, and have no time and energy left for pitting and processing!
Three Steps of Cherry Picking:
- Picking the cherries
- Pitting the cherries
- Processing the cherries (eating fresh, canning, freezing, making pies, etc.)
Our favorite discovery this year has been the new Roo Garden Apron that we sell in the store. It has been a lifesaver for fast and easy two-handed picking! We put a light weight bowl or mesh stainless steel colander into the "pouch," cinch up the waste, and then we have a field day picking cherries with both hands either on the ground or on a ladder!
Our other favorite tool this time of year is the Leifheit Cherry Stoner. Every year, we get frantic calls for customers for this handy helper! Just today, we had a customer who has this cherry pitter, but left it in their cabin in Michigan, and come home to a slew of cherries in need of pitting. Yesterday, a customer saw their neighbor using this cherry pitter, and needed one just like it.
This clever and effective cherry stoner makes short work of the pitting even the smaller sour cherries grown here. That being said, we also love spending the evening over a big bowl of cherries, pitting by hand and talking about the day. Our cherry accomplice-in-crime, dear Kathy, snapped this photo of the Leifheit on her lovely back deck last week.
I made a batch of Sour Cherry Preserves for a family member's 90th birthday. Uncle Steve loves Sour Cherry Jam, having grown up in Hungary, where the fruits are plentiful and delicious. I mailed it on ahead, and will surprise him on his birthday in a couple of days. Now, I am dreaming of that Sour Cherry Persian Rice recipe, planning a winter filled with cherry pies and smoothies, and am already sad that I will soon be missing the taste of the tangy fresh cherries that have been such a delight these past couple of weeks.
Now on to the black raspberries...