Life’s A Bowl of Cherries

…or more appropriately in this case, it’s two 10-lb buckets of them.

I’ve been away from the blog for a while for a myriad of reasons, but mostly our new business venture and the wonderful distraction of travel.  More on travel in a future post (or several).

We’ve officially purchased the dental practice where my husband has worked for the last 6+ years.  It’s been a challenging, stressful, educational and emotional experience.  There’ve been meetings with lawyers, accountants, consultants and bankers. It’s amazing how many people are–and how much money is involved in the sale of a single business.  It still gives me a little twinge in my stomach when I think about the money part.  Hopefully, with continued hard work and dedication we can maintain the growth of the practice, keep the awesome staff that we love and continue to make it the only place patients want to be.  My husband is good at what he does and he really, really cares about his patients and employees so I think it’ll be fairly smooth sailing from here.  It’s actually been kind of fun for me to pull out knowledge and experience from my previous HR career to help with the people-related aspects of the transition.  Just like most acquisitions, everything seemed to happen at the 11th hour so by the time it was over we were ready for a break.

10 lbs just didn't seem enough so I doubled my order. I was not sad about this.
10 lbs just didn’t seem enough so I doubled my order. I was not sad about this.

So, almost immediately following the transaction we left the country for 10 days in Iceland. Like I said, I’ll tell you more about that later.  I was home for a 3-day weekend between that vacation and a 2-week work trip.  As a present to myself, I spent about one and a half of those days in the kitchen, by myself enjoying one of my pastimes of preserving.   This time it was tart cherries from the cold state to the north, Michigan.

A lot of people in Ohio, and especially Columbus, have this rivalry issue with Michigan thanks to our rather lively college football culture.  While I enjoy football and OSU is my original alma mater, I’m not into the rivalry thing so it doesn’t phase me. Also, Michigan has tart cherries a plenty and I’m happy they’re willing to share.

I purchased them from Lynd’s, a local farm who has partnerships with other farms to help bring fresh produce to our local area.  I appreciate that Lynd’s is open about their use of other farms’ produce and they’re willing to expand the market for produce we might not otherwise have as plentiful access to in central Ohio.  I also have fond memories of going to Lynd’s for apple picking, corn mazes, pumpkin picking and open fires in the fall. It’s even where we got the apples to make our wedding favors.
*gets lost in thoughts of wonderful times…*

It’s funny how nostalgic I get when talking or writing about produce and preserving…

So what does one do with two 10-lb buckets of pitted, stemmed, washed tart cherries hanging out in their own juice?  Well, here are some of the things I made:

I completely forgot about adding the spices until after I got the cherries and pickling liquid in the jars. A few good shakes after they were lidded and the spices distributed well.
I completely forgot about adding the spices until after I got the cherries and pickling liquid in the jars. A few good shakes after they were lidded and the spices distributed well.
  • Cherry Jam – one batch of regular and one with black pepper, both using recipe on back of pectin box
  • Pickled Cherries – instead of five spice, I used a few peppercorns, a clove and about 1/2 tsp of coriander seed per 4-oz jar
  • Maraschino Cherries – simply cherries in sterilized jars, then topped with Luxardo (maraschino liqueur) and refrigerated
  • Cherry Jar Piesrecipe courtesy of a fellow Columbus blogger who’s got great ideas
  • Cherry Juice – leftover juice from buckets, boiled, ladeled into sterilized jars and water bath processed for 15 mins
  • Canned Cherries – in light syrup (6 parts water to 1 part sugar)
  • Cherry Syrup – sweetened the leftover light syrup from canning the cherries and added a couple cups of juice to it to concentrate the flavor
  • Cherry Shrub
  • Cherry Pie-lette

Often when I preserve huge batches of produce I end up kind of sick of looking at it for a while.  That didn’t happen this time.  I think the reason for that is 3-fold.

  1. I made small batches of each item rather than many batches of a single product
  2. I was so relieved to have some time in the kitchen after almost 2 weeks of not cooking, and
  3. While preserving these things, I kept thinking about the people who would enjoy these products and the occasions on which they’d be enjoyed.  My husband tells me there’s an old European grandma inside me because I so love to feed and house people.

I think I may have found some helpful methods of coping with my apparent inability to keep produce purchases to smaller quantities.  Hey, if you can’t change habits, what’s better than adapting to make them less of a challenge?

I can’t wait to crack open a can or two of these cherry products to make dinner and drinks for people when I get home this weekend.  Nothing makes me happier than sharing my table of home-cooked food and drinks with family and friends.

Cherry jar pies. I absolutely cannot wait to serve these!
Cherry jar pies. I absolutely cannot wait to serve these!

9 Comments Add yours

  1. chef mimi says:

    Those are absolutely beautiful – everything. Good luck with this new adventure!

    1. elderjscott says:

      Thanks, Mimi. We’re pretty pumped–both about the biz and the cherries

  2. Rachel Tayse says:

    I think you didn’t get sick of them because tart cherries are the best fruit on the face of the earth!

    1. elderjscott says:

      You may be on to something there! I used to believe that distinction belonged to strawberries (which I still deeply love) but I’m moving toward the tart cherry camp!

  3. Christen says:

    How big of a pressure cooker do you use? Now that I’m finished with school, I’m looking forward to starting my preserving hobby 🙂

    1. elderjscott says:

      I actually don’t own a pressure cooker (yet!) but I use a standard canning pot with basket inside–very helpful for avoiding broken jars from the boiling they do. Let me know what you preserve as you get going! Happy to help if you need tips. See Joel & Dana’s work over at wellpreserved.ca for inspiration.

  4. Courtnwy says:

    Scott… I am not a sweet eater but cherry pie is my favorite and my grandma always made me one for my birthday. I wonder if yours will compare to what she could make?! Yummy! Your jars look really good 😉

    1. elderjscott says:

      Thanks! I can only hope to aspire to cook as well as someone’s grandma. Some day, just maybe. 🙂

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