As I was freezing artichoke hearts yesterday (which is a bit tedious), my mind went back to memories of processing other produce. Actually, the most clear memory for me isn't of the canning process, but of the harvesting.
It was a beautiful summer day, and my mom, my sister, my brother, and I drove to a U-Pick cherry farm. The tree branches hung low, heavy-laden with perfectly ripe, sweet fruit. We needed no ladders, and all of us picked and picked. Before long, Mom said we could stop picking. All of the containers we had brought were filled.
We took the buckets up to the cashier. We had weighed the empty containers on the way in, so now all that was left to do was to weigh the filled containers, subtract the weight of the buckets, and pay for the cherries. Who knew that one adult and 3 children could pick one hundred pounds of cherries in such a short period of time?!
I'm not sure why I don't really remember my mom canning all those cherries, but I know she did--without pitting them first. (And really, who could blame her? It took long enough, I'm sure, to can 100 pounds of cherries, let alone try to pit all of them.) "Dessert" for the next year or so frequently meant a bowl of cherries, pits included. I can still taste them, squishy-textured with a dangerously-hard pit in the middle. Though I'm not a huge fan of canned cherries, the memory makes me smile. I'll never forget Mom's sheepish grin when she brought home one hundred pounds of cherries!
Have you ever been the recipient of an especially-large harvest? What did you do?
Thanks for sunny days, cheerful helpers, and cherries!