Remember when….

hot tub

Yesterday was the last day of school.  I can still remember the feelings I would have when school was over.  It was a feeling of freedom.  Especially during the elementary and middle school years.  I loved not having a schedule, knowing I would be camping for 3 weeks with my family, riding my horse all over the place, swimming, boating, sleeping in, bonfires and so much more.

Then in high school that feeling started to change.  Responsibility kicked in if I wanted to have a car and buy nicer clothing.  Those cherished summer vacations were cut short so I could babysit and earn money for gas, car insurance, and clothes.  In my junior and senior year, I almost dreaded school ending for the reason of having to work more and also not seeing and flirting with the cute boys for 2 months.

So tonight while my children are still in their innocent years, years of summer vacation truly being a vacation spent doing what children should do, we celebrated with a toast while in the hot tub.  We had the bonfire going, Chance’s best friend Graer sleeping over and their happiness was contagious.  I love them being home for the summer!!

Canning Cherries

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These are little bits of summer stored to help us through the cold winter.  These are bing cherries canned in a light sugar water syrup.  All natural and perfect to strain and use in yogurt, oatmeal or pour the juice and the cherries over vanilla ice cream, angel food cake, or vanilla pudding.  They are great in smoothies and right out of the jar as a snack!!  This is so easy and you can have cherries, crisp and fresh all year long this way!!  In the winter when my children bring some to school as a fruit their friends hound them for some.

Here is the way to make your Cherry Pitter (a must have and you have what you need to make it)

You DO NOT need special equipment to can.  I will post about that in another post.  As long as you have a big “spaghetti” size pot, you are good to go!!  New to canning go here or here to see directions or check youtube.
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How to make our family CANNED CHERRIES:

Fill a spaghetti pot of hot water 1/2 way, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer

In a another pot bring 6 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar to a bowl (you can reduce for less sweetness)

Choose the size jars you are going to can in, lids and rings

Sterilize them in the dishwasher or you can fill your sink with hot water when the syrup is ready and keep all hot pulling one out at a time to fill and placing back in hot water (standing up with water below rim) until ready to add all to the hot water simmering)

pit cherries and stuff them into jars (you can do as many as you like as it’s simple to make more syrup if needed) leaving 1/2 in headspace at top of jar

fill with hot syrup leaving 1/2 in headspace at top of jar

tap jar lightly on potholder to remove bubbles

place on lid and wipe jar around the top

place on right and tighten slightly (You do not have to make sure it’s super tight)

place in hot water standing up to keep them hot until putting into simmering water

once all jars are filled, place in simmering water making sure the tops are covered with 2 inches of water

bring water to a rolling boil and process for 20 minutes

remove and let cool listening for the lids to make a “popping” sound when they seal

once cool, run your fingers over the lids to make sure the  middle is “sucked” down

store in a cool, dark, dry place for a year

FREEZING CHERRIES — you can freeze cherries also which is way cheaper than buying them frozen in the store.  First wash and clean the cherries.  You can pit them or leave them whole.  Dry them and lay them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove and place into freezer bags and store in freezer for up to a year.  These are great in smoothies or ice cream and you can make another cherry pie if you need to!!

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