Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 59 - When God Gives You Sour Cherries . . .

. . . you absolutely must make cherry pie filling!

When we moved to this home we were so excited to have a cherry tree.  We believe it is a very old cherry tree and in the past few years some storms have really taken their toll on the female.  We actually have two cherry trees but one is the male and produces no fruit.  We would actually like to try either grafting or growing  more of these trees because the female is marvelously productive and has such great sour cherries.  The cherries were definitely ready today (and there will be more ready later in the week).  If only we could pick them all but many are up out of reach.  That's OK though -- as long as the birds keep to the upper branches they are welcome to as many as they can find up there.  There are plenty to share!

This is a better picture of the mass quantity of cherries on the tree!

Alan got up early this morning and picked a large quantity before getting ready for church (and before the rain came).  After lunch I went out to pick more.  I needed 6 quarts for my cherry pie filling recipe which is a whole lot of cherries!  While harvesting cherries the power went out.  It was out for 2 hours.  Not knowing when it would come back on we still decided to go ahead and pit them all and if we didn't have power by later afternoon I would just freeze them instead of processing them.

Clark wanted to learn how to use the cherry pitter.  I think we should still keep looking for one that can do mass quantities of cherries rather than one cherry at a time.  However, it went a lot faster than last year where I did everything with a knife!  After pitting they went directly into an anti-browning solution.

Then blanched them all 6 cups at a time (24 cups total).  To keep them hot while waiting for the other batches to blanch I put them in the crockpot and covered it - that worked rather well.  After blanching stirred up all of the sugar, clear jel and liquid.  To can pie fillings you need to use clear jel - it isn't available in stores though (at least not that I can find anywhere - if anyone knows of a store in central Iowa that carries it let me know).  I order mine through King Arthur Flour.  I also added a little Cherry Liqueur to the liquid measure.  Chalk that up to living a year near the Black Forest region of Germany.  My host mom believed in adding liqueur to all baked and processed products.  A little goes a long way but does add a unique flavor.  At least you can't get drunk off my Black Forest Cake.  I believe you could have at least gotten a decent buzz from my host mom's.

Goopey goodness!  Folding in the cherries to the base mixture.  I did not put food coloring in and it still has a wonderful red color!

Finished jars of cherry pie filling.  It didn't make as much as the recipe said it would but oh well (recipe said 7 quarts - I ended up with 5 quarts and 1 pint).  These will make yummy pies!  The little one we plan to use on one of our ham steaks.  We also have just a little left over to put on ice cream tonight.  I must add just as I believe strawberries and peaches are the only jams one needs - my philosophy on pie fillings are cherry pie and peach pie are worthy of the effort to process.  I know - very un-American not to have apple in my top two (it's in the top five along with blueberry).  There is no class for pie fillings but I do plan to enter a cherry pie in the pie division.  Now to work on pie crusts.

No comments: