We were home for the long weekend – in fact, this was the first weekend home and with no houseguests since mid May – so we seized the opportunity to take a quick afternoon trip to the u-pick farms. We’d hoped to pick strawberries or raspberries, but found ourselves on the cusp of both seasons, and so only able to pick cherries.
Photo by The Hungry Masses
Now, I don’t know if I can conclusively say that cherries are my favorite fruit, but they’re certainly in the top 5, along with cantaloupe (or muskmelon), apples, clementines, and the first strawberries of summer. I love them in all forms – fresh from the tree, dried and stirred into oatmeal, even artificially bright red and dubiously a foodstuff.
We hopped in the car and drove half an hour north to Spicer Orchards, where we paid the $1 deposit for our picking bucket and set to work. Shane climbed low branches to reach perfect cherries at the top of the low trees, while I wandered around collecting bright red berries in my gathered skirt.
We ended up with about 2 pounds of sour cherries (at $1.50/pound) and 3-4 pounds of sweet cherries (at around $2.50/pound) – definitely cheaper than the grocery store or the farmer’s market, not to mention more fun. The folks at Spicer make their own wine and cider and offer free tastings, so we tried a few samples and had a small lunch before heading home.
But what to do with all the cherries other than eat them? Excellent question. Sour cherry jam to the rescue!
1.5 pounds of sour cherries yielded 1 pint and 3 half pints of jam. The recipe might have yielded more except that I made a ridiculous mistake in my math and so had to quickly pull and rinse the cherries when I realized I’d used at least twice as much sugar as was necessary. Granted, this wasn’t as bad as the time that I confused teaspoons and tablespoons when making bread in my parents’ bread machine – but it did result in using up the last of the sugar, thus preventing me from jamming up the rest of the cherries. Guess we’ll just have to wait for another day and another post!