Contributed by: Monica Resinger
We are very lucky have two old sweet cherry trees in our yard. When we first moved here, the trees were so tall you couldnít get to the cherries, so the birds and squirrels were well fed.
After the first year, my husband and his friend topped them to a reachable level and for the first few years we didnít get many cherries. This year was different, very different. We had enough cherries to supply the birds, squirrels, neighbors, family and our freezer! We also had enough to eat fresh, and make some jam, crisp and pie.
To freeze cherries, simply wash, drain, and pit them. Pack them into sturdy freezer containers and freeze. Itís as simple as that. Later you can make desserts or jam with them.
Here are my recipes for jam, crisp and pie:
Sweet Cherry Jam:
Wash, pit and finely chop enough cherries to equal 4 1/2 cups. The chopping can be done in a food processor. Put cherries into saucepan and add 6 1/4 cups sugar. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil and add 1 package of powdered pectin. Return to a rolling boil, and boil 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with a spoon. Ladle into sterilized canning jars filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with flat lids then screw bands tightly. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
For filling, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Toss with 5 cups fresh, pitted cherries. Place mixture in an 8 X 1 1/2 inch round baking dish.
For topping, in a mixing bowl combine 1/2 cup regular rolled oats, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in 1/4 cup margarine or butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling.
Bake in a 375* oven for 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Serves 6.
Quick, Fresh Sweet Cherry Pie
Heat oven to 425*. Line a 9" pie pan with bottom piecrust. Stir together sugar and flour; mix with cherries. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan. Cover with top crust which has slits cut in it; seal and flute. Brush milk over top crust and sprinkle with a couple teaspoons of sugar. Bake 35-45 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. *note be sure to place the pie pan on a cookie sheet to prevent oven spills.
Cherry tip: A fast easy way to pit cherries: hold the cherry between your thumb and index finger with stem end pointing towards a bowl and squeeze. The pit should pop out with some juice. Be sure to catch the flavorful juice to use in your recipes.
It was a bit stressful trying to keep up with everything and take care of the cherries, but it was all worth it in the end. We enjoyed luscious desserts, fresh fruit, but most importantly we were able to share our bountiful harvest!
About the Author: Monica Resinger publishes an e-mail newsletter for homemakers that poses fun questions to readers about organizing, crafting, gardening, frugal living and other homemaking subjects; readers can respond to the questions and receive the resulting, very informative 'tip sheet'. If you'd like to join the fun, send a blank e-mail to: HomemakersJournalfirstname.lastname@example.org
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