Ok. I didn’t actually make Cherry Jubilee but we have had quite a celebration of cherries around here recently. Sour cherries come in ripe (usually) at the end of June and are available to pick for 1 week. It’s a small window so you have to know when to start calling to ensure you don’t miss it! This year we picked again at Lohr’s Orchard. The cost was only $1.40/lb and picking started last Thursday (June 14, 2012). If you are still interested in picking in your area, be sure to call soon or check out pickyourown.org. The kids and I were able to pick 7 qt’s in about an hour, that’s about 10 pounds.
With the cherries we picked I washed and pitted 1 quart and set it up in my dehydrator to make dried cherries. That took only ten minutes. The cherries spent the next 24 hours drying. From my 1 quart I made about a cup of dried cherries. I found a calculation online that said that drying cherries reduces them to .175 of their original weight. If you are looking for an electric dryer, this is the one that I use:
The next quart was made into cherry cobbler. I used this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. Instead of a large container I made the cobblers in individual ramekins which made controlling portion sizes and divvying out servings to the kiddos much easier.
This year my plan is to make at least 1 batch of jam of each kind of fruit that we pick. I already have 2 batches of strawberry freezer jam prepared and this morning the next 2 quarts of cherries were made into cherry jam. I prefer the low sugar recipe available in the Sure Gel No Sugar Package. The Sure gel costs about 2.79 a package. I have the jars and you need 3 c. of sugar. Making your own jam is definitely less expensive than buying this stuff and tastes so good. You always have a nice gift to give, too, in a pinch.
The last 3 quarts, or what was left after the kids scavenged the fruit, was washed, pitted and frozen. I freeze my cherries in a single layer on a cookie sheet with edges and lined with parchment paper. Then, once frozen, I just put them into freezer bags. You can then use the whole bag at once or just take out what you need.
The fresh and frozen cherries are fantastic in oatmeal, muffins and yogurt. Next year, I am going to pick another quart and make this cherry sorbet from EatingWell.com. With only 2 tablespoons of sugar it would make a refreshing, healthier alternative to ice cream. Maybe by then I’ll have my own cherry trees planted.