By Terri Rozema
I find one of the biggest blessings of summer is the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables. Whether perusing a farmer’s market, local farm stand or nearby orchard, it’s inspiring to see what’s growing locally, and then deciding what I’m going to preserve. The month of July is a bountiful one, with gardens growing a plethora of veggies, and orchards offering their first fruits. Here in Michigan, we grow some of the highest quality cherries available, and this blog will be focused on what to do with the cherries that we’ve picked.
There are two cherry types, sweet and tart. Tart are generally used for pies, sweet are best eaten fresh, and both types can be preserved. Whether it’s Yummy Cherry Pie Filling (freezer recipe) or a perfectly balanced Simply Delicious Cherry Chutney (water-bath canning), we can enjoy this delicious fruit all year long, using the proper techniques.
YUMMY CHERRY PIE FILLING
This recipe is great for beginners. Since the filling is frozen, there is no need for water-bath preservation. Yields approximately 8-9 pints.
17 cups tart cherries
5 cups organic cane sugar
10 tbsp corn starch
Containers for freezing (I recommend Stasher food-grade silicone storage bags, OXO Smart Seal Containers, or Souper Cubes Freezing Trays with Lids)
My favorite ways to use Yummy Cherry Pie Filling:
SIMPLY DELICIOUS CHERRY CHUTNEY
Water-bath canner, canning jar lifter, wide mouth funnel, lid lifter, canning bubble popper, Ball canning jars (8-ounce)
Preparing the Canner:
Simply Delicious Cherry Chutney Recipe
Adapted from “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” Edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine). Makes about six 8-ounce jars.
4 1/2 tsp whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick, broken
10 cups frozen red tart cherries (pitted) partially thawed and coarsely chopped; or freshly picked sweet black cherries, rinsed, pitted and coarsely chopped.
2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 1/2 cups finely chopped red or sweet onions
1 cup white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup raisins
Uses for Simply Delicious Cherry Chutney:
Is your ovenproof dish buried at the back of your cupboard collecting dust? If so, dig it out, blow away the dust, and give it a good clean; you will need it for this baked fish recipe. This super versatile recipe is a complete meal, especially if you pair it with mashed potatoes; more on this later. You will also love this recipe if you like to keep washing up to a minimum. Although this recipe is made with red snapper, it works equally well with any type of white flaky fish such as cod, tilapia, bass, grouper or haddock.
What pies are on your family’s Thanksgiving table? Are they the usual apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan? Why not change it up? After all, variety is the spice of life and cake reminds us of celebrations.
This celebration cake is packed with fruits, dried vegetables, healthy fats, and spices. It is similar in texture to carrot cake yet tastes like Thanksgiving. Due to the moistness, mini cake and muffin pans are used, as a standard-sized cake would crumble too easily during the filling and frosting stage. Mini cakes and cupcakes are festively fun and small enough to sample other desserts without feeling overindulgent. (Like that's not going to happen on Thanksgiving 🦃.)