Cherries show up in the middle to end of June where I live, chances are they do where you live too. If you miss them they are gone and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. If you are a grocery store shopper you get a little hint that the local fruit is on it’s way soon when the California seasonal varieties show up in the produce section, cherries are no exception.
I grew up with cherries. I have a cherry tree in my yard now and can’t really imagine life without them.
We eat cherries for about a week while they are in season but other than that the only cherries we enjoy are of the dehydrated variety. They are kind of like raisins but slightly bigger and great in kids lunches. Each year I dehydrate about 20 racks of cherries, I’m not sure what that is in lbs but I would guess 10-20lbs of cherries.
Processing cherries is one best done with three bowls, a comfortable seat and something entertaining on a screen. If you are opposed to your fingers being stained for a few days then I suggest wearing gloves. I use a paring knife and slice all the way around the cherry from top to bottom. The pit is loose at the bottom and fixed at the top so I then lift it with my knife to pull it out in one movement. This seems to be the most efficient way to pit cherries by hand and believe me I have pitted A LOT of cherries.
When I put them on the tray I put them cut side up. This stops them from sticking to the tray and makes unloading MUCH easier. They get stored in large mason jars and used in oatmeal, yogurt and as a finger snack for the remainder of the year.
If we have an excess of cherries I have been known to pit and freeze them until apricots come into season to make fruit leather.