Her trees are beautiful. Green healthy leaves with the deep red fruit hidden underneath in dense clusters, the center pruned out so a tree climber can hoist herself up to the highest point for the ripest fruit, and a convenient branch to rest the bucket on while picking high. We picked for forty five minutes and filled our two buckets with glistening fruit. But it was already beginning the downward slide; some were bird pecked and others beginning to rot. Just in time.
At home, we set up the pitting assembly line with the food dryer between us. I pit, Mark splits and arranges on a tray. It took an episode of This American Life to complete the task in the cool evening. While Mark set up the dryer in the dining room, where it would hum into the night, I pitted six more pints for canning. As always, we had lids left over from last year. You never know, really, when the season will end and exactly how many lids you will need. The steam canner made quick work of the six jars and by bedtime, we had processed two thirds of the fruit. This morning, I ran another, smaller, load through the dryer and tossed some into the freezer for a pie. We are, after all, leaving for vacation in the morning.
So the season has begun. I have tucked raspberries and cherries into the freezer, washed off the canning equipment, and stashed the canner in the larder half way down the cellar stairs, where it will spend the summer. Next week, I will inventory what we have left and what we need to set aside for this summer, but we will always jump on an offer of free fruit.
Make and roll out two crusts. Lay one in the pie pan and set the other aside to turn into lattice work.
5-6 cups of cherries
2T of tapioca
.5 c of sugar
.5 t salt
Mix fruit, sugar, etc together and spread into pie shell. Using a knife or pastry wheel (much cooler looking!), cut strips of dough. Lay across the fruit and weave together.
Bake in 350 oven until bubbly. Eat with vanilla ice cream in the back yard.