I’ve too much respect for those who suffer from OCD to claim that I even have a modicum of it myself. I obsess, that’s true. But it’s not compulsive. It’s out of some weird choice that I blame on the nuns – I blame everything on the nuns. Confronted with pots of ripe cherries, I couldn’t rest until they’d all be disposed of.
The village has had a lot of rain recently – Wednesday was horrendous apparently, with ditches filling in 20 minutes. We escaped because we didn’t arrive down till Thursday evening. And we went straight to the sweet cherry tree, visiting Americans and all. Buckets were doled out, Ladders were put in place. And we picked for 90 minutes straight. Much of the fruit was lovely – firm, ripe, and tasty, Some of it was fuzzy with a weird mould. And more of it again was water-logged and soggy. But we picked the ripe stuff as far as we could reach, discarding the mouldy ones, and offering the fruit-laden high branches to the birds and the cherry gods.
I hadn’t expected them to be ready so soon. Or to all come ripe together. Freezer space is minimal right now and left with buckets of the stuff, I was faced with the eternal cherry question – what to do with them all. Last year, I distributed them among by neighbours in Budapest. But these won’t last till I go back. Thankfully, visiting PL had plenty of ideas and pretty soon we got to pitting and canning.
That evening, we canned nearly 7 quarts in a light syrup and are hoping they’ll keep. They’re stored in the back of a press in the coolest room in the house. We didn’t do the whole canning boil as a) they wouldn’t fit in my biggest pot and b) they’re not canning lids. So, we packed them away with a prayer or three. The rest we left overnight. Which wasn’t a great idea. Forget bad apples. There’s nothing like bad cherry to turn the good’uns around. A shopping trip was needed for more jars and some cheap balsamic vinegar. We were also looking for lumber for a new barn door – but that’s another story.
Back at the house, we had friends dropping by on their way from the north shore and time was of the essence. I found an old palinka bottle and filled it with whole cherries – the good ones – before covering them in cheap balsamic vinegar – as the recipe called for. They’re parked for 3 months and then we’ll see. Supposedly it’ll make a great dressing for salads.
The rest was mush – good mush, tasty mush, but mush nonetheless. We needed a recipe for cherry mush. The plugged-in PL came up with one and while I pitted she cooked up a cherry jam that didn’t quite set the way jam should so we now have a lovely cherry sauce that goes great with vanilla ice-cream. There’s something very satisfying about spending a day in the kitchen processing the fruit from the garden. That sense of satisfaction that comes from surveying the fruit of our labour was quite something.
And while it’ll take a while to get rid of the cherries stains on clothes, nails, walls, and floors, it’s been worth it.