It was hard to capture exactly how loaded our cherry tree was this spring with cherries. Last year, being the first year we harvested any fruit from that tree – a banner two pounds! – I was hoping to get as lucky, if not luckier this year.
And did I!
Ten pounds. I picked everything I could reach with the ladder we had (about the bottom maybe 20% of the tree) which resulted in a whopping ten pounds. Most of them were slightly underripe, but I could not take the chance of losing the entire crop to the birds and squirrels once again. With that many on my hands, I figured I had the chance to experiment with a ripening technique I’d read about before putting them all up.
That is how we came to have a dining room table full of cookie sheets of ripening cherries last week. I had every intent of dealing with the cherries Saturday afternoon just as soon as I finished mowing the lawn, but we know how that ended, now don’t we?
It’s also been a good year for the strawberry patch, which has come in over the last few weeks, instead of over two days like last year. I made a batch of cherry berry jam, using under ripe cherries, while letting the rest of the cherries ripen. When I finally got to the cherries, there were also a few pounds of strawberries that had piled up to be dealt with as well. Which is how I ended up spending Monday making three batches of jam- albeit small batches, it was still three separate batches and I may have ended up stickier than the 20 month old twins from across the street who came to help Edie weed the garden while I finished up the jam that afternoon.
I lost some cherries to over ripening as well as a funk they get because we don’t spray the tree. But the yeild still trumped last years by a good eight pounds and more than a few jars of jam, so I’m pretty darn tooting happy with the haul. Two half pint jars Cherry Compote from Marisa‘s new book Preserving by the Pint, four half pint jars Cherry Berry jam, four half pints of Strawberry jam, three and a half half pint jars of Cherry jam and three and a half half pint jars of Black Forest Preserves from the Ball Cookbook. The recipe looked too tempting – cocoa powder and a touch of amaretto in cherry jam? Yes please. I may have licked that pot clean it was so good.
And now I shall put the fruits of my garden up on my basement shelves, to be opened one snowy day in January or maybe March, when I need convincing that indeed, spring will come again.