Cherries, Anyone?

pasted_image.pngA couple of weeks ago, one of our nurses brought in a couple of pints of fresh cherries from her own trees.  Although they were on the smaller side, they were sweet and tasty.

As we had recently received over 200 lbs. of rhubarb and Sr. Rebecca was in jam-making mode, they made their way into a couple of batches of a cherry rhubarb “taste-treat.”

Sr. Christina pitted the cherries in preparation for this endeavor.  Rather than simply discard the pits, why not try a little experiment?  Wouldn’t it be fun for our residents to watch cherry trees grow from these?

The pits were carefully soaked and any remaining fruit fragments were removed.  Next, they were set out to dry for a few days.

A bag of clean, dry pits now is sitting in a bottom refrigerator drawer for until December to provided the needed cold period for the proper preparation for germination.  (There are several variations in instructions for this process.)

Sr. Christina’s parents had recently had trees removed from their front yard in Minnesota because of a Ash boar that is killing off trees in their area.  Her mother is interested in possibly taking cherry saplings, so the above picture was taken for her information.

Really, cherries are nothing new for the human family, even if we’ve never grown them here before.  Fossils point to human consumption dating back to prehistoric times.  The Greeks and Romans enjoyed them, too.  In fact, they were part of Roman soldiers’ rations.  An interesting story is that they would discard them as they traveled and one could find old Roman roads by following the path of the cherry trees.

Perhaps one explanation for the varying instructions on growing cherries is due to the multiplicity of varieties which numbers over 1,000.

There are several dates commemorating different aspects of this cherished fruit, including January 3rd as Chocolate covered Cherry Day, April 23rd as Cherry Cheesecake Day,  May 17th as Cherry Cobbler Day, May 26th as Cherry Dessert Day, and coming right up – August 28th is National Cherry Turnover Day.

Cherries are very nutritious and are even credited with stabilizing blood sugar levels, easing joint pain, and aiding with sleep.

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Rhubarb…and More Rhubarb!!!!

We just finished cutting up about 130 pounds of a green plant with red highlights.

Yes, it was rhubarb!

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This was actually the second batch we received and processed within just a few days.  The generous donors of both batches sell one batch per year to a local winery, but had extra now to share with us.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Deacon Wally Dalman and his wife Colleen for their kindness!

IMG_2168 (1)We’ve begun to use their rhubarb already, making sauce, jam, and cake.

However, this really doesn’t put much of a dent in our supply, to which we added roughly 245 lbs. since this past Wednesday.  There will be plenty to provide for rhubarb desserts for months to come, which is good because our residents do enjoy them.

Due to the large quantity of produce, we had two “rhubarb cutting parties” today with our residents; one began after snacks, around 10 a.m.  The second was after dinner and lasted until supper time.  A few people came and went, but some stayed in our activity room for the entire afternoon of “festivities.”

Good conversation, camaraderie, and the satisfaction that manual work can bring,  make these parties an uplifting experience for our residents.

If you’re interested in joining in with future “parties,” please let us know and we can give you a call.  We’ll be having corn and apples come in as well during the coming weeks and would be happy to have you come and join us!