So you have been cherry picking and arrived home with mountains of cherries – what next? Well now is the time for real family messy bonding – it could be called tedious but if you choose to do so you can make it great fun!

Make sure you don old clothes, have a nice little treat nearby e.g. cherry liqueur or cherry pop for the kids and settle down to an afternoon or evening of creative activities. Make sure you lay down LOTS of newspapers on the table before you start. Have a family conference about what you are going to make and then all hands to the cherry pit! Most recipes require pitted cherries – not surprising unless you want a few broken teeth as the cherry pits might be small but they are pretty hard. If you haven’t already, invest in a cherry pitter- a cunning little device that helps to pop the cherry pits. There is something imminently satisfying when the pit pops through with a plop into the bowl!

Frozen cherries:

Wash the cherries in cold water, de-stalk and de-pit but save the pits – there are loads of things you can do with them too. You can freeze cherries very easily. Dry them after washing, lay on a try and pop into the freezer. When they’re frozen pop them into bags and seal. When you need them, just pop some hot water over them and let them stand for 30 min.

Favourite cherry recipes:

We have been harvesting cherries for years and have tried lots of different recipes. An all-time favourite is one that comes from Klondyke farm and is a cherry compote.

You need:

500 g dark cherries
Water or red wine
240 g sugar
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Half a teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cloves
120 g red currant jelly

Method:

Depip the cherries and just cover with red wine or water.
Add sugar and spices until the cherries are soft – about 10 min
Remove cherries and add red currant jelly to liquid.
Melt slowly and then boil until the syrup is thicker.
Add cherries back to the liquid and bottle or use over ice cream or as a dessert.

A great one for kids:

Cherry and strawberry Freeze:

You need:

1 punnet of strawberries
1 punnet of cherries
45 ml orange juice
25 g castor sugar
250 ml lemonade

Method:

De-pit the cherries, wash and hull the strawberries and place in a food processor with orange juice and suagar.
Process till smooth.
Pour in lemonade and process for 30 seconds.
Pour into ice lollie moulds. If you want to be adventurous add whole bits of fruit. Freeze and enjoy!

(Thanks to Cherry recipes, Klondyke Farm)

Some ideas for cherry pits:

Don’t throw the cherry pits away – after all your hard work you deserve some fun with them. Wash them and use them to make a syrup and an all-purpose vinegar.
http://localfoods.about.com/od/condiments/qt/Cherry-Pit-Vinegar.htm
http://montanahomesteader.com/making-preserving-cherry-pit-syrup/

Games to play:

Wash them, dry them on a tray or in the oven at a low heat.

Cherry pit Bowls:

Set up a space on a large flat table. Mark out a circle with chalk and place 1 big cherry pits in the centre of the circle and 5 dotted outside the circle. Get into 2 teams of 4 or however many in the family. Using a marble roll carefully and see who can get the most cherry pits closest to biggie in the middle.
Pot the Cherry pit:
Set up a bowl on a table. Agree on the distance and the number of cherry pits each. See who can get the most into the bowl.

Cherry pit pictures:

Get some coloured or white paper and some glue. Pop the paper into a beer tray or tray with a slight edge. Randomly spread the glue on parts of the paper. This can be made more exciting if you blindfold the person putting on the glue! Take the cherry pits and roll around in the tray. Allow to dry. Remove the pits that have not stuck. Create pictures using pens and crayons around the cherry pits. Tell stories about the shapes you have created.

Cherry pit creations:

Each family member has a bowl full of washed and dried cherry pits and some strong glue. You can supply cardboard for younger children. Each person creates a “cherry creature”, either by sticking the cherries together with strong glue or by gluing cherries on to cardboard and cutting out the pictures once dried. You can mount the cardboard ones on a newspaper rod and make a family of cherry puppets. Have great fun telling stories.
The ideas are endless – let your imaginations run riot, let go and let it all happen.

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