Two weekends ago we were able to harvest our cherries from the tree next to the house! It was really exciting to see just how much fruit a little tree like that can produce. I believe that this was the first real harvest off of the tree, though it’s possible the last owners were able to pick some last year. I’m not sure what variety this particular tree is, though it is a VERY tart cherry. They are pretty dark, on the smaller side, and have a relatively small pit. And the tree isn’t quite 5′ tall yet (it’s not fully grown). I’m not sure how old it is, but the truck is pretty small, so it can’t be too old. Heads up, I am going to use the word cherry a lot in this post!
Several weeks back, I netted the tree to insure that WE would be able to harvest the cherries, not the kids, and not the birds. If we had left the tree uncovered, I am sure we would have hardly gathered a thing! All in all, we had to have collected around 6 pounds of cherries.
I am very excited about just how much I was able to get out of what we gathered. It took quite a bit of work to pit all of those cherries, but it was worth it! The oldest two kids and I pitted all of the cherries in one sitting so that we would make sure that we didn’t let any of them go to waste. Scott wanted to make a half gallon of cherry wine, so we did that first. Then I found three things I wanted to make, so I measured out the cherries to see if I would have enough to make it all, and we did! So started by making 9-1/2 pints of cherry syrup. I won’t use it all myself, but the thought was to give some of it as gifts.
With the pulp left over from the syrup I made cherry fruit leather. I just took the remaining pulp, blended it, and spread it out on some parchment paper, stuck it in my dehydrator overnight, and in the morning we had cherry fruit leather! (For those of you who are unfamiliar, fruit leather is like nature’s fruit roll ups.) After that I made cherry crumble with about 3 cups of the cherries.
The next day I canned 3 12oz. jars of cherry vanilla jam. That was my first official canning experience alone, and it went well! We tasted a tiny bit, but haven’t opened a jar to use just yet. I want to finish a jar of jelly we have opened in the fridge first, but the kids can’t wait! With the juice I got from pitting the cherries, I think I made cherry-lime homemade gummies, and the kids polished those off in about 5 minutes! I was also able to freeze about two cups of pitted cherries for tossing into a smoothie or throwing into some oatmeal or yogurt.
We have a lot of black cherry trees in the back of the property, and I am hoping to get back there very soon and net one of those trees to see if they are worth dealing with, and hopefully increase the number of cherry items in our pantry!
What are some of your favorite cherry recipes? What’s your favorite variety of cherry? Let me know if you think you know what kind of cherry tree you think we have, and don’t forget to leave a comment below!