Cherry Sunday

I spent Sunday completely immersed in cherries. IMG_5264

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Hubby and I picked over 12 pounds of tart Montmorency cherries from our tree on Saturday the 4th of July. We figured it’s a great way to celebrate the national holiday. IMG_5262

I chilled the cherries in the fridge overnight then piled all 12 pounds into my largest bowl, an enormous punch bowl, before noon. The vibrant color inspired me to get going, so I  began the slow process of canning pie filling. IMG_5261

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After stemming and pitting the first dozen or so cherries at the counter, it was time to take a seat at the dining room table and work in earnest. One great thing about cherries with yellow flesh is their juice doesn’t stain the fingers as deeply as cherries with red flesh. It still stains, but almost a peach hue. IMG_5265

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An hour or so passed with some good tunes accompanying my chore, and I was feeling accomplished! I had prepped one huge batter bowl of beautiful cherries: IMG_5271

This is when I glanced over my right shoulder at the giant punch bowl still on the kitchen counter. IMG_5272

Barely a dent made in the abundance! So I ate a late lunch then kept at it for a few more hours. Maybe more than a few. IMG_5270

When I finally finished, it was approaching dinner time, so Hubby mercifully drove down the mountain for some take-out. Working with cherries is a time-sensitive endeavor; the portion of each cherry where the stem and pit are removed can brown quickly, so it’s important to process them or cook them the same day they are pitted. IMG_5273

At about dinner time I began the cherry cookfest. This year I used a recipe for sour cherry pie filling from one of my favorite books, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving.  This book overflows with amazingly helpful tips, great recipes, and gorgeous photos.

An hour later, with the help of a good ol’ water bath canner, I had my prizes. Six quarts of lusciousness — 2 pounds of cherries per quart! IMG_5275

If anyone is wondering, the tree still holds many pounds of cherries. I’ll use some fresh ones we harvest this week to bake cherry turnovers and a fresh cherry pie. I didn’t want to bake on Sunday because we still had birthday cake in the house from Hubby’s birthday. With just two of us, it takes longer to get through sweet treats.

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