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[caption id="attachment_946" align="alignleft" width="125" caption="Dried Cherries from Traverse Bay Farms"]Dried Cherries from Traverse Bay Farms[/caption] With the summer cherry harvest only a few months away, here are some ways to select and prepare fresh cherries. First, when choosing freshly harvested cherries, select the ones with a deep uniform color. The flesh of the cherry should be firm and not bruised.  Secondly, once you have had your selection, stem and wash thoroughly just before using, handling carefully to avoid bruising. If desired, pits may be removed with a pitter or simply enjoy the cherry and “spit out” the pit when you’re down.  Preparing:  If pitted, place the cherries in a solution of 1 tsp. powdered ascorbic acid per gallon of water to prevent discoloration. Drain the fruit before further processing. If unpitted, prick skins on opposite sides with a clean needle to prevent splitting. Yield Calculations. A lug of the fruit weighs 25 pounds and yields 8 to 12 quarts. An average of 17 1/2 pounds makes a 7 quart canner load (approx. 2 1/2 pounds per quart); 11 pounds makes 9 pints. An average of 1 3/8 pounds makes 1 pint of frozen cherries. You can also squeeze the fruit to make cherry juice. This is a great refreshing drink and you’ll enjoy the glass of cherry juice during a warm summer day.
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