Last year, we found out that we had two pie cherry trees, one golden delicious apple, and one red delicious apple. We also have a crab apple tree, but we think we're going to replace that one with something a little more delicious.
Last year, we didn't really pick very many cherries. For one thing, I had no idea what to do with them. I didn't have the tools to can them, and I didn't realize you could freeze them. We also had a ton of other projects going on, so we didn't really think about them too much. The robins didn't mind. We had some really fat and happy birds.
This year, however, we didn't want to miss out on our cherry harvest. So, for the last week or so we've been working on cherries, cherries, and more cherries.
The dogs have enjoyed eating the ones that have fallen on the ground too. Lately, their poop has had more cherry pits than poop. I think that's pretty funny. I was glad to see that they weren't crunching up the seeds though. Cherry pits have some cyanide in them, and can be dangerous if too many are eaten. However, when they're swallowed whole, they don't seem to be dangerous.
We've had some great helpers over the last couple of weeks. We were tending our friends' kids, and they helped us out.
Then, a week later, Kevin and I went back out to pick again. The cherries were wonderful, and there were so many. We ended up filling two ice cream gallon buckets.
Four buckets later, we had plenty to work on.
|I accidentally left one bucket out of this picture.|
It took a good part of Saturday, but we finished all six buckets. We froze most of them, but we also put some aside to make a cherry pie. We also dried five trays full on the dehydrator. They turned out well too. We cooked some of them in pancakes the next day, and they added a good flavor to them.
We ended up with around nine quart bags full of cherries after that. We froze all of those, except the bag we kept in the fridge to make into a cherry pie.
Tuesday, Kevin and I picked two more buckets. The cherries are so ripe and sweet now that they are a pleasure to eat right off the tree. We're kind of tired of working on cherries, but it's a shame to waste any.
Yesterday, I tried canning by myself for the first time. My grandma had needed her cherry pitter back, but I read online that chopsticks make pretty good pitters. I didn't have any chopsticks, but we did have some shish kabob sticks. So, I used the blunt end of one to pop out my pits. They worked pretty well, and it took me about an hour a bucket to pit them all. Then, I bottled them and used the new canning kettle I had gotten from my great aunt to cook them.
It appears that all 11 pints sealed. I'm pretty proud of myself. I think they turned out great!
Then, after Grig got home, we picked two more buckets and gave them away to a couple of friends who had requested some. We'll have to go and pick some more today.
After all this, we are a little tired of working on cherries, but we're so grateful for the bountiful harvest that we've been given. The birds have eaten their share too. Quite a few of the branches are high enough that we can't get to them, and the birds have been gorging on beautiful cherries. Our robins are so fat right now that they aren't moving too quickly.
There are still a lot of cherries left. I need to pick some more today. I've been really bad at blogging that last couple of weeks. I've been really trying to write and finish my second draft of my story. I'm nearly finished, and sometimes I have to choose to blog or write with the little writing time I have. Today, I'm blogging. We've had a stressful couple of weeks, but we've also had some neat blessings.
The cherries are definitely a blessing. I'm pretty excited that we've been able to store so many.