Posts tagged ‘freezing’

You’re so pitty, oh so pitty

Last night my husband and I tag teamed, and we pitted, vacuum sealed and froze approximately fifteen pounds of cherries.

And how exactly did we come about fifteen pounds of cherries (actually eighteen, but we have to eat some fresh, of course)? Well, the same way I come about many large quantities of food things – through a friend who has a connection to a farmer. In the past we’ve purchased chickens, potatoes and pork this way. It is a lot of fun, kind of like anticipating a long awaited package in the mail. These cherries came through a friend of a friend we know at the Minnesota Food Association. A farmer connection they have in Washington had pesticide free cherries ready to pick and they needed a large enough order to make the shipment to Minnesota worthwhile.

That said, this post might raise some questions for readers who know me. Why is she buying cherries from Washington, doesn’t she know they grow in the Midwest?

So, to “local” or “not to local”? That is a very good question. First, I am not a food purist. I do not believe it is realistic to expect that everyone will eat a nice, local, fresh, largely plant-based, organic, small farmer produced diet. At least not anytime in the foreseeable future. But I do believe that we all need to be thinking about our food, and no matter how small, we need to start making changes. Where your food is grown is only one aspect of a very complicated food system. I do believe a regionally and seasonally appropriate diet is something we should strive for, but I also enjoy a glass of orange juice many mornings throughout the year. It is not local to Minnesota and several months of the year it isn’t seasonal in Florida either. But again, if there is one thing you should learn from this blog, perfection or any notion of it, should be your last goal with food. Education should be first.

Knowing the cherries were coming from a small producer who did not spray – something I’ve found difficult to find in the cherry world – we decided this option fit our criteria for a “yes” in the food sourcing department. And at less than half the price of certified organic cherries at Whole Foods, it also fit a bit better in the budget. Not that I think I shouldn’t pay a fair price for food – it is one of the largest expenditures in our house – but there is paying a fair price and there is paying for the luxury of shopping at certain stores. But I’ll stop there, the cost of food is a whole other can of worms I’ll discuss another day.

Vacuum sealing the cherries

So, back to the cherries. Cherry preserving is a pretty easy and straightforward process. Depending on the tools in your kitchen, you have a few options. The first step no matter what is to wash and pit. My mom gifted us with a hand held cherry pitter a few Christmases ago and the whole endeavor is made much simpler. I highly recommend making this purchase should you have any desire to be a serious cherry processor.

From my experience, the next step can go one of two ways. If you own a vacuum sealer, just filled the bags, vacuum, seal and freeze. Done. If you don’t, the best method is to put your cherries in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then put the tray in the freezer and let the cherries, you guessed it, freeze. Once the cherries are solid, put them in plastic zipper bags or whatever containers you prefer. This pre-freeze method prevents the cherries from squishing and melding into a giant blob of red which is almost impossible to navigate come eating time.

Frozen cherries in our house are used for milkshakes, fruit drinks and in morning yogurt throughout the coming months. While they’re not Minnesota Grown, we can eat them knowing they were harvested, in season, from a place that is much closer to home than the alternative – cherries sold at Christmas time in the US may be coming all the way from Australia. So, if you’re in the US and you love cherries, now is the time to find them. If you only want to eat in season, then gorge yourself. Should you want to enjoy the harvest a little longer, try your hand at some preserving. Either way, enjoy!

Advertisements

July 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 19 other followers