July 9, 2010
The Saturday of Independence Day Weekend this year shall hereto forward be known as the great jam day! After all the corn was processed and safely put away in the freezer I turned my focus to jam and preserves. I was armed with six pounds of cherries and memories of eating last year’s cherries in syrup with homemade frozen yogurt. Unfortunately, I was also armed with the memory of pitting said cherries last summer. My friend and I had used a cherry-pitter where you had to load four cherries into little cradles and then press the lid closed to force the pits out. You can imagine how long six pounds of cherries might take to pit if you were only able to process four at a time. I recently ordered a cherry-pitter with a big hopper from one of my suppliers but I was skeptical. In fact, I was so skeptical that I asked him to send me one as a sample so I could try it first before I committed to buying it and carrying it in the FARMcurious store. I carefully unpacked it and clamped it to the countertop, fully expecting it not to stick firmly and, what do you know but it stuck!
Sure, but can it pit cherries? I dumped a bunch of cherries in and started pressing the lever. A cherry would roll into the chamber and after you pressed the lever, the pit would be pressed through into the bottom compartment, the pitted cherry would roll out into your bowl as the next cherry seamlessly rolled into the chamber! Not only was it magical, but it was also fun!
I called my honey in to see my fancy new gadget in action. If anyone can appreciate a tool created to do one thing only (and well!) it’s him. He had to try it too, and you want to know the best thing about a cool gadget? There’s never a shortage of people who want to try it out (therefore, helping you!). We pitted about ¾ of the cherries before it was late and we were tired, keep in mind, please, that I had already shucked and frozen 30 ears of corn earlier that evening.
Stirring the Strawberry Balsamic Pepper Goodness
The next day I woke up early to start getting things ready for my canning date! My neighbors have a big plum tree that was heavy with bounty so they sent the plums along with their 5-year-old for a jam lesson at Chez Kramsterday. Said neighbor was given a choice of tasks and, of course, she chose cherry pitting with the fun new toy!!! Apparently none of my other jamming tasks had a cool enough gadget. She pitted away, showing me her progress as she moved through the remainder of the cherries while I stirred big boiling pots of jam.
Throughout the day I made Black Forest Macaroon Conserve (you guessed it – chocolate-cherry with a smidge of coconut thrown in for texture), strawberry-balsamic-black pepper jam (thank you www.epicurious.com) and cherry-plum jam. It all came out delicious, especially the Epicurious jam! I sent the neighbor home with a half dozen jars and set to cleaning the kitchen. I still had five pounds of nectarines, peaches and apricots to make into salsa, but I was so exhausted, it would have to wait until tomorrow.
You can purchase the cherry pitter in our online store here.