Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Black Cherry Jelly

I have been making a conscious effort to note the season ... when are the different berries ripening, what is blooming, what could I forage today.  This path, my MooseBoots journey, includes many indigenous skills such as tanning, hunting, and foraging.  I have been waiting patiently for the Black Cherries in the back yard to ripen.

Now, our Black Cherry tree does not produce delicious cherries that can be enjoyed right off of the tree.  Ours are a bit bitter.  So, this year, I thought I would try making Black Cherry jelly.  Nobody in the house was much interested, but ....

I carefully harvested cherries.  OK, I used the roof rake to knock them out of the tree into a sheet of plastic.  I only sustained a minor scratch in the process.  Still no interest ... who will help me harvest the Black Cherries?

 I brought them into the house and washed them.  Nope, no interest ... who will help we wash the cherries?

I painstakingly crushed them to extract the juice.  Now ... no interest ... who will help we crush the cherries?

I poured the juice through cheesecloth to separate out the chunks and into the pan to boil.  Anyone ... nope ...who will help we boil the cherries?  I added some sugar and let it boil down, until it was just right and then poured it into a jelly jar.

I sat in the refrigerator for a few days setting up.  Then, I put some of the thick jelly on a bagel.  It looked so good ... my mouth watered.  Who will help me eat this Black Cherry jelly?  One bite .... YUCK!  It is still bitter.  Of course, my philosophy is, and has been, that when you make something or take its life, you must eat it.  So, I finished the bagel.

I am pretty sure that there will not be anyone accompanying me on this particular leg of my MooseBoots path.  Maybe I need to spend a bit more time in Nature's Garden and see what Sam has to say.  I may just end up leaving the cherries for the birds, who seem to really enjoy them.


  1. Oops! I thought we were going to be swapping recipes, since I cleaned almost 15 pounds of elderberries (also a painstaking job that took hours), and made some syrup and jelly. Everyone passed through the kitchen to see what I was doing, but no one offered to help. In my case, thankfully, the jelly turned out awesome - although it took 3 batches to get the right amount of sugar and pectin for it to set. Maybe I should send you a jar, and you can mark it "black cherry jelly"...My next project will be rose hip jelly after the frost hits my roses...

  2. Um ... excuse me? I think this isn't terribly fair to the rest of us. I mean, who's who? Right? Am I the lazy dog or the sorry, old pig wallowing in her mud pit (which I hear is very good for the skin)?

    *We* already knew what the black cherries were bitter and best left to the birds and no amount of sugar would make them palatable :). We're happy to accompany you, though, but I wouldn't call harvesting black cherries a "leg" on your journey. It's more like a toe - the little one - and really, it's probably the least necessary appendage.

  3. Julie, this post is very much tongue in cheek. I tend to be very "persistent" sometimes and grudgingly give up. As Wendy points out, we knew they were bitter ... I just hoped the bitterness was lessened by heating ... apparently not.

    Wendy, I really like all of my toes. Thanks for playing along.

  4. You two sound like quite the team :) By reading your posts and Wendy's blog, your readers have come to know your whole family quite well - thank you for sharing! 5 more weeks of market before the end of our sales hoo! Fall is very near...we're actually supposed to go down perilously close to frost tomorrow night - might have to cover up the watermelons, squash, basil, tomatoes...I hate this part of fall!

  5. Julie, you, and all of my readers, are welcome. Wendy and I know that we have an incredible life together with our amazing girls. We too are mourning the end of the farmer's market ... there have been fewer vendors for the past few weeks. Luckily, the local grocery store does some great work with local farms (the products from which are prudly labeled "close to home").

  6. Wait ...?!? Julie - you grow watermelon? Aren't you even further north than we are?

    We have never been able to get watermelon to grow bigger than a baseball, which doesn't make for much melon.

    So ... very ... jealous! *grin*

  7. Yup, I just harvested one to give to the girl who gave me the plants. (Variety was Sugar Baby, I think) It has a circumference of 30 inches, and weighs over 16 pounds! Woo hoo! I've taken photos and will post on my blog later.

    We had lots of heat this summer, alternating with lots of rain - just what watermelons love, in addition to the mushroom compost I worked in when planting.

    And yes, we are MUCH further north from you. Goggle map Grand Valley, Ontario...


  8. In England we have 'eating' cherries and 'cooking' cherries. There are recipes out there to suit even the bitterest of your fruits (of course they are a part of English cuisine, so you're taking a chance!). Sour cherries make a good sauce for ducks, or you could combine them with a sweeter fruit for jelly, or even use them in a chutney. Eveything can be made into chutney which is great with cold meat and cheeses. Don't give up!

  9. Jennifer, I remember my first visit to family in Liverpool. They took me out on a pub crawl on Christmas Eve and introduced me to Apple Cider. Christmas morning it was eggs and blood sausage ... now I had a lot of cider, but ... I am not convinced it was not the sausage that made me nauseous the next morning (hangover?!). I am not likely to give up any time soon. As a matter of fact, I am still looking at the remaining Black Cherries and wondering if I may have picked them too early .... No one has ever accused me of being stubborn. ;-)


Thank you for leaving a comment on MooseBoots.

If you have not, please follow this blog by clicking the "Follow" button.