Last night, at my friend Alli's house, I spent a couple of hours picking "a shit-ton" (her words) of gorgeous, ripe tart cherries off of her trees while we chatted and sipped a few beverages. (Latte for me, white wine for Alli.)
Tonight, at my house, after a late day at work and some much-needed grocery shopping, I spent a few hours sorting and pitting yesterday's haul. I did the first half by myself, but luckily Brian consented to help me out for the second half. If not, I would STILL be pitting cherries, I think! Each half was turned into "cherry pulp"--which I couldn't help but photograph in its early stages, here:
The first half received some pure almond extract--not to be confused with "imitation" almond extract. The latter was composed of chemicals I couldn't pronounce, plus water and alcohol, so I bought the real stuff with recognizable ingredients for a few bucks more.
You may notice some grated stuff on the spoon handle in the picture above. That's either the zest from one orange or grated ginger from the 1 inch piece that I added to the second pot. When such things are needed, I go to my beloved micro-grater to get the job done. It does such a nice job of finely grating everything from soft orange peel to tough, fibrous ginger, and turns blocks of gourmet chocolate into yummy chocolate dust, too. I seriously don't know how I got by in the kitchen without this thing:
So tomorrow night, after volleyball, I am going to come home and turn this delicious cherry goodness into jam. I think that I'll do the orange/ginger mix first, and let the almond mixture simmer with some cinnamon and cloves on the stovetop while the first batches are being processed... even though I know the scent will tempt me to taste some along the way.
(Just a reminder, in case Brian is reading this post: Tasting along the way is referred to as "quality testing," not "snitching from the pot." I appreciate it when this is referred to correctly in my kitchen!)
The jars are ready, the waterbath canner is ready, and I don't have to work on Thursday so I can work as late into the night as I'd like tomorrow without having to worry. I do, however, still have to work tomorrow. I mean today. Wednesday. And since I need to get up for work around 6 am I'd better get my cherry pulp packed away in the fridge and myself tucked into bed... as my ex's wonderful character of a grandmother always says: "Tonight is one of those nights I need to sleep fast!"