Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ontario Cherries

Sunday was spent driving from Otterville all the way to Arkona to visit some cherry orchards my husband used to go to (and one he worked at) when he was young. It was a long drive, it took us about 2 hours or so.

The red sour cherry trees were loaded! It only took us about 20 minutes to pick 5 gallons of sours, and then I spent a good hour washing and sorting them, then had the owner and his daughter pit and bag them for me while I went back to the sweet bing cherry trees to try to help pick those.

It was pretty much the end of the season for those trees. Apparently this summer in that particular area they had a problem with the cold spring, and a mildew. So the easy-to-reach berries were already gone, and the ones that were left were way up high in the tops of the trees. Now, I am no good in climing ladders (too afraid of falling) so I mainly sorted those that he picked. It took about 2 and a half hours to get a 5 gallon pail of those, but were they ever sweet!

We stopped off at another orchard to see how their cherries were doing and it was very busy there. I ended up buying a baker's dozen sweet Ontario corn and pre-ordering my peaches for August. I will be getting the free-stone peaches. Two bushels of grade A for my canning and one bushel of grade B for my jams.

We then drove home, and bagged the sour cherries in individual bags for making pies during the winter. There were about 30 bags in all of those.

Then, we canned the sweet cherries. I made a very light syrup for this. Four cups of water to two cups of sugar. During this process we discovered that the snap lids I had were too thin and popped up during the canning process, so I had to make a quick drive into town to buy new ones. After I had gotten home, we had two bottles break in the canner. But all in all, we ended up with 17 quarts of canned sweet cherries for winter. Yummy!

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