Our final foray up to northern Michigan for the summer included a mamma-mandated trip back to Rennie Orchards to pick tart cherries! Homemade cherry jam is one of my favorite things to eat all winter long, and there is just something about the fact that I hand-picked and pitted these cherries that makes the jam even sweeter for me. I love preserving the season for later!
Jackpot! Low-hanging fruit!
We ended up with about 18 pounds of fresh tart cherries to take home to Chicago with us, and the next day we got right down to business. (Tart cherries don't like to wait around.)
With this new cherry pitter in hand, we pitted and pitted and pitted! Anne helped, of course. Never underestimate the enthusiasm of a toddler for an excruciatingly tedious task.
Once pitted, the cherries were processed in one of three ways:
1. Maraschino Cherries, a half batch of this ginormous recipe, using about 5 pounds, and yielding 2 pints and 8 half-pints: http://leapphotography.com/blog/2015/06/maraschino-cherries-home-canning-recipe-boise-photographers/
Assemble booze, etc:
Bring to a boil:
Pack the pitted cherries:
Pour over hot, sweet, boozy goodness:
2. Tart Cherry Jam, doubling this trusty recipe that I've used for the last 2 years, using about 8 pounds, and yielding 3 pints and 8 half-pints: http://foodinjars.com/2009/07/sour-cherry-jam-recipe/
3. Frozen pitted tart cherries for pies, etc. Two pies' worth, about 2 pounds per pie.
The final product:
Not pictured: one exhausted, cherry-stained, and happy pregnant mamma.