Late this afternoon I checked out our wild black cherry tree. It looked like a little over a third of the cherries were ripe.
Usually I hold the branches down and pick the cherries by hand. But it’s pretty time consuming. So today I put a tarp under the tree and whacked the branches I could reach with a long stick.
It worked, but a LOT of the cherries rolled off into the grass. And I also got unripe berries, twigs, leaves, two kinds of spiders, inchworms, and a tiny grasshopper in the mix.
It took a while to clean them. I may have done just as well to pick them by hand.
We don’t eat a lot of jelly, so I decided to make syrup with them. It didn’t take too long. I boiled the cherries about 30 minutes, poured everything into a jelly bag and let it drain another 30 minutes.
Then I mixed the cherry juice 50/50 with sugar and simmered it for another 5 minutes.
I made two jars, plus enough left over for immediate use.
I’ll probably use it in tea, lemonade, over ice cream, and to flavor other desserts.
The rest of the cherries should be ripe soon. I love having wild food growing free for the taking!