Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cherry pickin' - pt. 2

As I mentioned before, preparing all the delicious cherries I have been......pardon me, WE have been picking would be another post. Today I got the 3 boys out there to help out with the harvest and we finished the task.

Jo tried to help, but she just couldn't quite get the hang of it. She kept getting all messed up in the branches and stuff so we told her to get lost. She did help pit the cherries, though.

We have been picking, washing, pitting, and canning all the cherries I/we could possibly want! Oh yes, and eating them also! They are so yummy! The tree is so tall and so loaded with fruit it is amazing. I have heard from other people that this has been an excellent year for cherries. I canned 12 quarts in total and DIL canned 3 quarts. That will make some super good pies over the winter. I want to try and make turnovers as well. My hands are stained a grossly dark purple from all the juice.
Canning is such a rewarding activity. I have always been intrigued by the concept of "putting up" fruit and vegetables. Nowadays our food is commercially canned, but it has not always been this way. Many women have spent many long summer hours harvesting and canning their own food. When I was growing up, my mother never canned at all, so when I moved here to Humboldt, a close friend who was a few years older than me taught me how to can. We started out with something simple, I think it was blackberry jam. She showed me how to pick them and then transform them into lip smacking jam. Once we tried making "Ouince honey." That was taking this weird fruit called a quince, cooking it up and using only the juice to make a jelly. It was mostly sugar but very pretty to look at. Just about the color of honey. Another time she taught me how to make applebutter which is a personal favorite of mine. Since that time I have canned tuna, green beans, salsa, peaches, applesauce, pears, marinara sauce, dilly beans, lots and lots of wild grape jelly and other stuff. I get a great sense of accomplishment when I look at the jars lined up neatly in the cupboard.

When I moved into the old house, I was tickled to find that whoever built the shelves in the pantry made them just the right size to store pint jars and quart jars. Every single shelf was exactly the right height. I also discovered several hand drawn diagrams of the previous owner's garden plot pasted to the back side of the cupboard door. When I remodeled the room I couldn't bring myself to throw them out, so I kept them. I don't know why I couldn't and I don't know what I will do with them, but nonetheless, I kept them. One day perhaps I will make a collage of all the old items and the old wall papers that I have found since restoring this old house. But that sounds like another project!

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