Cherry Harvesting at Home

Cherry Harvesting at Home

It's Cherry Harvest time in Southern Oregon and I feel so lucky to have two beautiful trees in the front yard of our new home this year! We have both a Bing (the dark red ones) and a Rainier Cherry tree. I recently learned that it is essential to have two varieties of cherries growing near each other for proper pollenization. We also have two apple trees and this applies to them too.

This is my Superman hovering around the tops of the trees picking gallons of glorious cherries for us. He picked for hours until I asked him to stop because I had run out of places to store them until some were processed.

What a guy I have! It was about 98 degrees that day. A lovely morning for picking but after lunch it got pretty warm up on that ladder I assure you.

Speaking of ladder's, we looked into buying an orchard ladder this year but we already have several ladders and we realized that one of the ladders we had was quite suitable for the job. Orchard ladders are not only expensive but large and require some storage space so we were very pleased that we didn't really need to buy one.

We were also extremely lucky that the birds didn't eat too many before we got the chance to get ours harvested. Many people in our area buy cherry nets to wrap the trees in to keep the birds off. They are effective but also not free. We found we would need to buy 2 of the largest nets and that would have been about $75.

They say the nets are reusable but I imagine not as effective in consecutive years and they would eventually need to be replaced. We harvested plenty this year so I think we'll see how next year goes before investing in netting. I'm sure that in a lot of other peoples yards they would really be necessary.

Aren't they just gorgeous! Cherries are my all time favorite fruit I'm sure.

When we lived in the Rogue Valley years ago, My mom would buy quite a lot then, after rinsing them, she stored them uncovered in the refrigerator in a HUGE yellow Tupperware bowl.

I would get that bowl every afternoon and sit on the couch and gorge myself on cherries.

She also canned quite a few cherries. Have you ever had home canned cherries? They are amazing and nothing like the canned cherry pie filling in a tin. They are light and sweet, tangy and deliciously refreshing!

This was my set up for removing the pits or stones from the cherries for processing.

I set this up in front of the TV and it helped some with the tedious task. Carpal tunnel could flare up if you have a problem with it and too many cherries to pit.

This was only about half of what we picked. The rest were already in my extra refrigerator. Two trees produce an abundance of these sweet treats!

Both of these varieties are sweet cherries and the Bing variety is most common and loved cherry in Oregon. The Rainier is a special variety that Is also considered to be a premium sweet cherry.

Rainier Cherries are not the same as the Queen Anne variety although they look very similar.

Rainier Cherries are a yellow to blush colored cherry that is considered to be larger and sweeter than the bright red Bing cherry. Rainiers are, however, on the more tart end of the scale for yellow cherries. Queen Anne cherries being on the much sweeter end of the yellow cherry sweetness scale.

After pitting the cherries I stewed up a large pot of the Rainier cherries and made a delicious puff pastry pie!

I just couldn't throw out those little scraps of puff pastry after making the round pie crust, so I made some free form decorations with them for the top of the pie and pressed them on after baking them separately.

Stay tuned for more on what I'm doing with all of these cherries.

Next up, ways to preserve the little gems for future use.

Cheers!

~Melisa

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