Photos tell the story of a fabulous harvest from our 20-foot Montmorency cherry tree. On Saturday morning, while I cleared the lower branches of the glowing fruit, Hubby climbed the ladder to pick all he could reach.
These tart or pie cherries are translucent and seem lit from within, unlike sweet cherries that are opaque. While picking, we wondered about the relatively late harvest, remembering picking at the beginning of July in previous years. We chatted about last year’s meager harvest, when a late spring frost knocked off most of the blossoms. We marveled at the beauty of pollination, reflecting on how each cherry had been kissed by a pollinating insect or by the wind to create the fruit. We picked. LOTS. We are Pickers after all.
After about two hours, we carried our treasure up to the house and weighed it. We’d picked 22 pounds of cherries.
While I began sorting, rinsing, and pitting (and hunting for my giant steam table pan to store the bounty in) Hubby returned to the orchard and picked another six pounds. He’s funny that way.
Tart cherries require refrigeration to stay freshest. It’s best to leave them intact with stem on while in the fridge.
Once pitted or even just de-stemmed, they brown quickly so it’s important to freeze them or cook with them right away. I spent hours yesterday and today pitting then freezing cherries on trays. The vivid fruit reminds me of the sour ball candies at this stage, but they really are surprisingly tart! I then place the individually-frozen cherries into freezer containers to use in recipes. So far I’ve frozen eight trays, or over 15 pounds worth. We’ll use the remaining fresh cherries in desserts this week, and I’ll can pie filling tomorrow.
An abundance of cherries remains for arriving houseguests to have a go at picking. I like to put visitors to work! Also, all the highest branches still hold lots of fruit to keep Coppertop birds happy for weeks.