Cherry Picking

Jill and I picked cherries near her house yesterday – about 20 pounds worth.  We climbed way up on ladders (they made us sign waivers first) and picked for about 45 minutes.  Two varieties of sweet cherries; Lamberts and Rainiers.  Yum.

Lambert Cherries

It was perfect weather, not as hot as it’s been at Jill’s recently, and we finished up just before the rain started. Here’s the gorgeous view from the orchard.

View from the cherry orchard

I drove home in the afternoon (it’s about a 4 1/4 hour drive) and this morning I woke up to 20 pounds of cherries to deal with.  The first thing I did was search the internet for pitting techniques.  A cake decorating tip works well and I started with that, but eventually switched to a chop stick.  My fingers are all stained and shriveled now.  I had cherry juice spatter all over me, I looked like something out of a horror movie.

Cherry juice spatter

I protected my cell phone from the mess with a zipper baggy – so I could still send and receive texts from my sisters (who text constantly, by the way).

When I was looking for pitting techniques, I came across a recipe for cherry pit vinegar.  I was very excited that all those pits, with yummy cherry flesh still clinging to them, wouldn’t be put to waste!  And then I discovered that cleaned and dried pits can also be used to make microwaveable heating pads!  But first I had to figure out how to clean and dry the cherry stones.

Cherry stones soaking in water, waiting to be cleaned

Mom has two food dehydrators, so I begged to borrow one and the first thing I did was load that up.  I did two trays of each type of cherry.  It’s tedious slicing all the cherries in half and arranging them cut side up.  They better be yummy!

The Lambert cherries are about half-way dried

I made a batch of no-cook jam out of each kind of cherries, which I’ll put in the fridge.  If you ask nice, I might share some.  I also made two big jars of the cherry pit vinegar, one with apple cider vinegar and one with red wine vinegar.  Several trays of cherries went in the freezer for later.  And finally, I made a gluten-free cherry cobbler!

Lambert cherry pit vinegar (back right), Lambert cherry jam (front left), Rainier cherry jam (centre) and Gluten-free Ranier cherry cobbler (right).

I didn’t stop for lunch; I just snacked on cherries all day.  I hope I don’t regret that a bit later.  I have a few more cherries to pit and freeze tomorrow and that’s it!  So fun and rewarding.

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2 Comments

  1. Stanley Rober

     /  August 12, 2012

    OH BOY, just thinking about fresh cherries makes my saliva run. I have many fond memories of picking bing cherries from the tree in front of my Grandma’s house in Tacoma. It was a very large cherry tree and naturally the best ones were way up near the top. I remember the safety warnings from my Mom but she didn’t stop me from the productive climbs. We didn’t have a cherrie tree where I grew up in Everett.

    Reply
    • The Lambert cherries seemed a lot like Bing to me. And we were STRICTLY forbidden to climb the trees and we had to be very careful not to damage the producing spurs, but the ladders were quite fun (and just a wee bit scarey).

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