It’s that time of year when there’s a goodly amount of fresh fruit around. It’s one of my favorite times of year, honestly (one of them anyway, ha). We’ve been gorging ourselves on fresh watermelon, foraged berries, and more. And now , well the local sweet cherry season is upon us. We eat and can and dehydrate and freeze as much of it as we can get our hands on. Jeff and I easily eat a quart of canned fruit a day once the fresh stuff isn’t available any more. Besides just snacking there are smoothies and desserts for pot lucks and more, so we put up a ton of fruit each year.
I’m an experienced and efficient canner these days. I can put up a 20 pound box of nectarines in no time and leave the kitchen in pretty good shape. When I first started, the kitchen would be a mess and it would take most of the day to do a 20 pound box and clean up the resulting mess. Now, a 20 pound box takes me less than 3 hours and very little of that is hands-on time, most is processing and sterilizing of jars. I say this not to brag but to encourage. The more you do it the better you get it and the easier and faster it becomes.
Flathead cherries are one of our most favorite eats. We bought 100 pounds and will be working on putting those up (and in our stomachs) over the next few days. Jeff and I work on these as a team. He pits and I can. It’s a good time, the two of us chatting and laughing in the kitchen as jars and the pantry shelves get refilled. We’re working in small batches after work right now but when it comes time to do a big run, we get a very efficient system going in that as soon as a load comes out of the canner, he’s pitted enough for me to fill the next load of jars.
So far, we’ve only done 14 pints of brandied cherries. These are a favorite winter treat and gift for that matter. It’s a bit of work right now, but will be so worth it come February when we’re still eating local fruit.
What are you putting up?