And a cherry on top

Back in July we were invited to tag along on another orchard gleaning out in Wenatchee (we did apples last fall) at Peter and Maryann’s and we ended up with a significant quantity of Rainier cherries, plus a couple bings thrown in for good measure. Apparently the Rainiers were  being selectively harvested for just the right size and color at the end of the season, and a bunch were just going to be left to the birds. Dodging rain showers, Paul, Michaellynn and I spent a couple hours up on ladders filling bags.

Alicia had the foresight to get on Amazon and buy the highest-rated cherry pitter she could find, and we put it right to work. We were going to be pretty busy with a home-improvement project, so we froze them in gallon bags until we would have a chance to work on them.

(Time passes… one month to be exact.)

OK, I’m back and have finally started processing the cherries. Michaellynn had suggested freezing the cherries before drying them because when they thawed, they would release a lot of their liquid, which she made into jelly. We followed suit, and indeed, each gallon bag of cherries drained about a quart of liquid. After that it was into the dehydrator for about 16 hours, and we had what looked like giant raisins on hour hands. I reduced down the cherry liquid into a thick syrup, and we’re trying to decide what to do with it. Probably keep some for pancakes, and maybe make a bit of jelly too?


Cider Weekend

We tagged along with our friends Clay and Michaelynn on their annual “Cider Weekend” at their friends’ orchard in out in Wenatchee this weekend. It’s a gathering that’s been happening since they were all in college, where the orchards are gleaned after they’ve been picked, cider is pressed, taco soup is consumed, and all manner of farm fun is had. Our kids ran wild through the apple trees all day, got pushed on the huge swing, and ate more apples than I thought possible in the course of an afternoon. Plus, do I need to say anything more than “apple baseball”?

The main event was the cider pressing, and after a morning of picking apples, we got to work processing them into juice with the Ringsrud family’s fancy cider press. The previous weekend, we had our annual cider pressing here in Seattle, and in hindsight, it was a quaint affair compared to the raw power of this machine, squeezing nearly every last drop out of the apples it pulverized. In a couple hours we pressed more cider than everyone could even take with them.

To top it all off, the family has recently kicked their artisan hard cider business into gear, producing some fantastic bottles from the apples they grow in their orchard. Look for Snowdrift Cider… you won’t regret it. I think Whole Foods is carrying it in the Seattle area.

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