When I go out to cherry pick, my mind is flooded with memories of our first year here when I thought I must put every single cherry in a jar.
Our trees are pretty consistently loaded. They need desperately to be pruned and the vast majority of the fruit is to high to harvest.
In 1995, the kids were young and it was the first time they could eat all the cherries they wanted from our own trees. They had pretty much picked the lower branches clean and I was standing on a saw horse picking what I could when a bull moose came through the yard. The three kids scrambled on top of a dilapidated chicken coop while I (several months pregnant) climbed the tree. Our German Shepherd did his duty and escorted the moose off the property. Oddly, the child I was carrying has had a ‘thing’ for moose since he was born.
This year, we spent an afternoon picking cherries and filled the kitchen sink.
I went to work the following morning, washing and pitting. In the past I’ve cold packed them but this year I decided to try hot pack. As another first, I used rosehip tea in place of ascorbic acid. They were processed for 20 minutes in the steam canner.
I was delighted to have three loads done within 24 hours.
We repeated this process once. The third harvest went into the dehydrator. I use the dried cherries as raisins in trail mix and oatmeal cookies.
The four subsequent harvests went to friends and the farmers market.
Fret not, the wasps still got plenty from the top of the trees.