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The Farm is starting to bear its many fruits and vegetables for me to enjoy, but in many cases there are just too many to be able to use right away. One of the joys of growing your own fruits and vegetables is having the ability to preserve the numerous extras one receives.
If you don’t have your own fruit, check your local farmers markets; they offer a great variety and it means supporting your local economy!
You may wonder why it is worth taking the time to preserve and put away fruits. Perhaps you have memories of grandmas and mothers working tirelessly to do so. When you put away a fruit, you know exactly what goes into it and where it comes from. Additionally, the flavor is a far cry from anything purchased in the frozen aisle at your grocery store.
This week, The Farm’s cherry trees have inundated us with an abundant supply of buckets filled to the brim with gorgeous fruit. While baking freshly-picked cherry pies, cobblers, and tarts is immensely satisfying, there are only so many a person can eat! I never want to waste such precious fruit and, having already made a batch of jam, the rest will be frozen. Freezing fruit is one of the simplest ways to keep any item fresh; it is so much quicker and easier than canning. Forget the hot and messy pressure cooker (we will leave that for later use)! All you need is reusable freezer boxes or freezer bags (found at any grocery store).
Cherries can go from tree to freezer rather quickly compared to other fruits. All you need to do is rinse the cherries after they are picked, removing any dirt that could contaminate the fruit before you pit them. After they are rinsed, pit the cherries. There are a few different methods to do this. My mother has her own tried-and-true method of using her thumbnail to expertly and quickly remove the pit. For those of us without long nails, use a cherry pitting tool. Some swear by this tool and others think they are a mess.
If you are new to pitting cherries and know no different, I think you will like this ingenious idea. My grandma always taught me to pit cherries by using an old oversized bobby pin (yes, the kind meant for hair). You simply use the hook end of the pin to catch the pit and remove it.
After pitting the fruit, they need a thorough washing. Use cold water and immerse the cherries, moving them around. Drain the water and repeat two to three times.
Last, put the cherries in the containers of your choice. If you have a favorite pie or any recipes you use frequently, freeze cherries in conveniently-sized quantities!
Freeze and enjoy for months to come! These cherries will keep at least one year in the freezer and possibly more, but I’m guessing that with some delicious recipes, they won’t even last that long![hr]
Images by The Gray Boxwood[divider]