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.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Yesterday I went to my garden to check out the damage. It was really bad. Really, really bad. It turns out that the mystery herbicide that was sprayed (and damaged about half the beds in the community garden) was RoundUp, which is not exactly something you want to eat. So the organizers of the garden encouraged everyone with an affected bed to pull out all the plants so the soil can be amended and repaired.
I am not ashamed to say that I broke down and sobbed as I pulled all my poor, dead plants out of the ground. I am heartbroken, not to mention more than a little angry that all the time and money I poured into this little piece of earth is now rendered a total waste. No ripe cherry tomatoes for Anne to pick off the vine and eat, no little baby pumpkins to make into pie. No pickles, no quarts of sun-warmed San Marzano tomatoes to make into pizza and pasta all winter long.
I. Am. So. Sad.
Tomorrow, gardeners will gather to do what we can to fix the soil, and then I guess we will re-plant. What can you plant in mid-August, fellow gardeners? What can I look forward to? Any ideas to help pull me from the depths of despair? I appreciate your help and suggestions!
*In case you're wondering, here's what we're adding to the soil to help eliminate the toxins and restore it to a place where you want to grow food:
- an activated charcoal called Biogize SD to absorb and detox the chemicals that may remain in the soil
- Food Safe Zeolite to help further detox the soil and help boost the new plants going in to better take on the nutrients it needs
- Garrett Juice, a concentrated organic spray to reenergize the microorganisms living in the soil that will eat toxins.
More to come soon.