Tuesday, July 13, 2010


This past weekend I picked up my 10-lb tub of tart Michigan cherries from Rouster's Apple House. They had been grown and picked in Traverse City, then pitted and packed fresh in their own juice.

Yet another memory from my childhood is of my grandma's tart cherry tree in her side yard. She lives on a century-old farm in Hamilton, Ohio. Every year around this time my family would grab a step-ladder or two, several buckets, and would pick pounds and pounds of the lip-puckering flame red fruit. My mom would freeze countless containers each year for cherry pies, cherry cobbler, and other delicious old-timey desserts. Needless to say, I have a deep rooted fondness for tart cherries.

In my ongoing effort to explore different kinds of jams that stray from the beaten path, I made a batch of tart cherry jam on Saturday. The recipe called for liquid pectin rather than powdered - something I've never used before. The jam didn't set up quite as well as it could have, but the taste is wonderful. Maybe next time I'll try it with powdered pectin instead. The pantry is starting to reach full capacity for jam and it's only July!

In other news, today I picked the BIGGEST TOMATO I'VE EVER GROWN! It's a Carbon variety and is just slightly bigger than a baseball. I picked it a day or two green because all of the rain we had today had made it split - I didn't want it to rot on the vine. A couple days on the counter to ripen up and it will be good eats!

Also pictured are more Sungold Select cherry tomatoes, as well as my first two Riesentraube tomatoes (top right). The Riesentraubes were really tasty - a very classic tomato taste, but not as high of a sugar content as the Sungolds.

A week or so ago I had swathed the tomato raised bed with several layers of pliable green plastic netting to keep the squirrels and birds out. It may not be the prettiest way to keep the critters away, but it has been working perfectly. No more half-eaten green tomatoes laying in the yard; the only ones who will be enjoying this garden will be myself and my husband, dammit!

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