First, a big thank you to all who ordered! Our shipments were up this year and we really appreciate it.
I heard a few good 'pitting' stories describing your techniques and gave one recommendation for the Leifheit pitter I usually use- pictured here. Last week I finally got a chance to sit down and pit some cherries, to start canning, and my pitter didn't work!! I checked it all out and finally came to the conclusion the cherries this year were just too big for my pitter. A friend confirmed this saying he had to use a plum pitter (which I didn't even know existed).
They were BIG, weren't they?
Last week we finished the cherry crop with Pickers coming in and picking the final 6,000 lbs of cherries left on the trees. For some reason I totally forgot to get pictures, but our Cold Room was satisfyingly full for a little while.
Lockhorn Hard Cider, located in Bozeman MT, hired a juicer to come out here to Sound To Earth Orchard and juice them all. Lockhorn will make their Seasonal Flathead Cherry Hard Cider from the juice- nice folks and their cider is tasty!! Hit the link and order some if you love cider as much as I do. Here's a few images of the action:
Those are cherry pits in the last picture
One more thing before I wrap up this post~ you could call it dessert, plus another big Thank You for ordering our cherries and participating in our lives.
I found the best recipe for CHERRY CHOCOLATE SAUCE. It makes about 6-7 half pint jars, so I doubled it, and yes that is TWELVE cups of sugar. I had my doubts about this, but it is delicious!! I actually used 12 oz jars, too, and it's obviously so rich a little goes a long way. It's the perfect treat to send home with a visitor, or stick in a Christmas Box.
Here's the link to the original recipe, and I will also copy it below. You will not be sorry.
6 cups sugar
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups firmly packed coarsely chopped pitted sweet black cherries
½ cup lemon juice*
1 pouch 3 oz. / 85 ml. liquid pectin**
Prepare canner, jars and lids.
In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder and set aside.
In a large, stainless steel pot, combine chopped, pitted cherries and lemon juice, then stir in the sugar and cocoa mixture and, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down.
Add the liquid pectin and continue to stir. Boil hard for one minute and then remove from the heat.
Skim off the foam from the top and ladle chocolate cherry sauce into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace at the top. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed, then wipe the jar rim and place lids on and screw bands down.
Process jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (adjust time for altitude if over 1,000 feet). Once finished, remove canner lid and wait another 5 minutes before removing jars. Allow to cool on the counter completely and then store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
NOTES * Use commercial, store-bought lemon juice, not fresh-squeezed in order to guarantee the acidity and safety of this canning recipe. ** Be sure to use liquid pectin and not powdered pectin as you may get different results with powdered pectin since they both cook and set differently.
***makes about 6-7 half pint (or 8 oz) jars.