- 1/3 cup flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup sugar (divided)
- 1 pound (about two full cups) tart cherries, pitted
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Combine flour and oats.
- Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
- Mix in 1/3 cup sugar; set aside for topping.
- Sprinkle cherries with cinnamon, nutmeg.
- Pour into a greased 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over cherry mixture.
- Bake at 325° for 10-20 minutes or until your smell something delicious
This recipe is adapted from The Recipe Boy Blog where he adapted it from The Fruit Orchard cookbook he scored from a local orchard in Virgina. The tasty crisp in this picture is the one he made for his family.
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.
I don’t normally can in July or August. It’s just too darn hot to have the stove on that much. Most of my summer preserving is done with the dehydrator on a table outside. One day I will find a man handy enough and who loves me enough to build me a solar dehydrator but until that day I use the electric variety.
However this year has been unseasonably – um – damp, which would make solar dehydration a little bit tricky. A conversation with a friend revealed the fact that I have never had canned cherries. Continue reading Summer Canning
We are still picking raspberries. My God. Still. I need a scale to weigh just how many kilos of raspberries we’ve picked. A bloody lot. Raspberries, berries in general do not travel well and by the time the bucket is full and the berries are rinsed they are pretty much mush. Which makes good fruit leather and that is what we have been making.
Note to self: Wax paper is not a good substitute for a fruit leather tray in the dehydrator.
Second note to self: purchase additional fruit leather trays.
Continue reading Apricots and Raspberries
I love summer. Who doesn’t. But what I love about it is the growing season and how the produce changes as it ripens and becomes ready for harvesting.
The kitchen staples of apples, oranges and bananas are a perfect example of how out of touch we are with where the food we eat comes from. Bananas are terribly cheap, horribly cheap as a matter of fact and everytime I eat a fresh banana I think a little part of me dies inside knowing where it came from. Oranges don’t grow here either so the only thing that we can actually get from around here are apples. I am staring at an apple tree as I write this. For those who come from the Okanagan they know that before there were vineyards everywhere, and the coddling moth, the apple orchards were what sustained generations of farmers and orchardists. They are a fabulous fruit in that they keep so incredibly well. I can buy a 25 lb box of apples, put them in my cellar and be done with it. No additional labour required. Fantastic.
Not all fruits are so simple. Peaches are another thing that grow plentifully where I am from and man who doesn’t love a fresh peach? They are simply delicious but they don’t keep well at all. Which is why I spent 3 hours a few days ago slicing, boiling, peeling and packing peaches into jars for us to enjoy in the coming colder seasons.
Canning is one of those seemingly lost arts. There was a time when not a root cellar in the city would be found without dozens of jars filled with wonderful fruits and vegetables lining it’s shelves. These days cans of food line grocery store shelves and are packed in factories instead of kitchens. It is sad really but I hear that canning is coming back into fashion what with the recession and all.
When I was growing up we also had a food dehydrator. My mom mostly used it to make fruit leather and banana chips, it didn’t really work all that well and I never really thought much of dehydrating food. Until this spring I met a friend who was/is an avid backpacker and recently purchased a food dehydrator. We would talk about all the things he was going to dry and as the fruit started to come into season a big giant light bulb smashed above my head. Dehydrating food is such a perfect way to keep it intact. I dehydrated a flat of strawberries early this summer and they came out magnificently I wish I had done more. We now have the ability to make our own raisins, crasins and chaisns (dried cherries I just made that up think it’ll catch on?). Brilliant.
To sum it up my primary modes of preservation are drying, canning and freezing. Pretty standard stuff.