Plucking pits out of cherries with paper clips, sticky red juice splattered over counter-tops and walls, glass jars that must be washed and kept hot in sputtering vats of water lest they break when boiling fruit is added to them – this is canning cherries.
You’ve seen the pictures that bloggers take of their cute little glittering jars full of jellies and jams. You can’t imagine them getting their frilly aprons dirty.
Theirs is the airbrushed, sweetened edition of a process that has left homesteaders wiping their brows with cherry-stained fingers for hundreds of years.
The truth is that home canning is not a pretty process, it’s messy and time-consuming, but it is one that is valuable, even today, when fresh fruits and vegetables are available to most people, year-round.
- Canning is one of those things that grants enormous satisfaction to those who complete it. You could have done it the easy way, but you didn’t. That’s an accomplishment in itself, and a very gratifying one at that.
- You know what is going into every jar – all natural ingredients.
- Opening up a jar of preserved food in the midst of winter, hearing that pop, and knowing that you did it right generates an awesome feeling.
- It is a way to remember the lives of those in generations past. If you’re one of those people who likes going to pre-1840’s style rendezvous, or participates in Civil War reenactments, you understand the value of this. Enduring the old-fashioned methods gives you a greater appreciation of what life was like for those characters in history books.
- Food that you pick and process yourself tastes better. Don’t listen to anyone who says that it doesn’t. They have obviously never had a garden.
Canning cherries usually takes us 2 to 3 days because we process anywhere from 35 to 40 lbs. Before we can, we enjoy eating the fresh cherries and using them in dishes such as crisps, pies, and crepes.
Don’t let anything go to waste. Use your cherry juice for making syrup. It’s wonderful on a stack of hot fluffy pancakes.
Have an abundance of cherries? Try our easy freezer homemade cherry almond ice cream. It takes a while to set, approximately 8 to 12 hours, so start it early in the morning in order to have a cool after-dinner dessert on a hot summer evening.
Freezer Cherry Almond Ice Cream
What you will need:
- (1) 14 oz. can of pure organic coconut milk
- 3/4 cup fresh sweet cherries
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds (taking the time to toast almonds dramatically enhances their flavor)
- Pour coconut milk into a freezer-safe container
- Whisk the almond extract into the milk
- Wash cherries and remove the pits. Chop the cherries and add to the milk mixture
- Add the almonds and stir
- Place in freezer. Periodically stir the mixture as it freezes. This is necessary to make it creamy.
- Ready in approximately 12 hours.
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