Okay, maybe not some days. Take yesterday for instance. A friend gifted me with 25 pounds of wonderful sweet black cherries. As sweet cherries are not hardy here, we can’t grow them, so this was extra appreciated. As they were close to going bad, I set up to can them right away. After all, it was 8 AM and it was already 85 degrees in the shade — they wouldn’t hold long. I found my super handy cherry pitter and got my jars and lids ready. (If you have never used a cherry pitter, let me say right now it’s one of my all-time favorite homestead kitchen tools. This little device clamps to your counter. You put several washed cherries in the little hopper and with the flat of your hand, you strike the plunger a smart smack. It neatly pokes the pit right out, into a waiting bin, below. Then the cherry (usually) pops down the chute, into your waiting bowl. Sure, once in awhile, it misses a pit, if you don’t smack the plunger sharply enough. But for an appliance that costs less than $20, it’s way better than pitting cherries by hand! I’ve even used it for our bush cherries, which are smaller. Boy, does it save you hours of time. I do flip one cherry at a time into the pitting spot so two don’t get jammed up in there, possibly causing a pit to be retained.

I’m all set up to start canning cherries; notice the helpful pitter.

Okay, so I pitted and canned up the first batch (nine pints). Then hell rained down on us. Will came in saying our neighbor’s cows were in with some of ours in the horse pasture. Oh crap! (It was already 95° F in the shade!) I went down with him to try and separate our cows from the neighbor’s, which didn’t go so well. We did get a few through the gate. Then Will got a round bale of hay and lured the “good” cows out into the pasture from the winter corral where they were lying in the shade by the water tanks. They went out pretty well, then I led Ladyhawk, our mare, and the mule out of the winter corral too.

By then, David, who had been shopping in town, and the neighbor showed up with two fellows and a stock trailer. We finally got the cows sorted and his cows in the training ring where they could be driven through the chute, into the trailer. After the first load, I had to head for the house. The heat had gotten me pretty bad, along with all the running around. Who needs a gym, huh? Anyway, the cows finally all went to the neighbor’s new, rented pasture, several miles away. Whew!

By now it was 104 degrees in the sun, so I sure wasn’t doing any more canning for a while. We do not have air-conditioning! So, Will went to mulching and watering while I worked in the house, waiting for cooler temperatures. It didn’t start cooling until 10 PM and I still had a lot of cherries to can up. It was still pretty hot, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep, so I went ahead and canned up the rest of the cherries. Some of the lids I was using were the new Snapdragon reusable lids a friend in Colorado has been developing for several years. He does the developing and some testing then sends the lids to me to do further testing. These lids are made of stainless steel with separate seals which can be reused indefinitely. The big difference is the vent button on the top of the lid which sucks down as the vacuum creates the seal as the jars cool. Like the Kerr and Ball lids, you can feel the firm indentation after the seals are complete. I really think he’s on to something here. I’ll keep you posted!

I ended up with 21½ pints of cherries. Notice the new Snapdragon reusable canning lids.

— Jackie

21 COMMENTS

  1. That’s exciting about the Snapdragon lids Jackie. The Ball lids have really gone down in quality these past few years, which is a true shame. And that they are reusable is wonderful! It’s about time another manufacturer steped up to fill our canning lid needs!

    Every time I come across some of the older heavier lids I grab them and run for the cashier lol. I look forward to hearing more about the new lids.

    Stay healthy and safe in these difficult times.
    God Bless.

    • I’ll keep you posted. Since COVID, have you noticed lids and jars have gone up in price too?

      • The prices are not too bad here yet in my area of Oregon, but yes, canning supplies are higher in cost and some are hard to find.

  2. Those snapdragon lids sound great! I use the reusable lids you have suggested before, and they work great. But it is nice to have options! Those cherries look delicious! Stay frosty!

    • Yes, it is good to have options and some folks don’t like using plastic in any form. I’ll keep everyone posted on the development of the Snapdragon lids.

  3. I have one of those cherry pitters and they are fabulous! I am very interestedin those snapdragon lids as they seem very useful and economical. Take care in the heat because as you know, it can be deadly.

    • I really love hard-working homestead tools, especially when they’re so cheap and work so well! I am careful of the heat as, like you said, it can be deadly. And it sneaks up on you sometimes.

    • Yep, it was a big job, but now it’s done and I have pints and pints of lovely black sweet cherries. Yum!!!

    • I’m really loving the Snapdragon lids and can’t wait till they hit the market.

  4. I have a lot of tattler lids…… looking forward to info on the snap dragon lids. I can relate to not having A/C. I am in TX and even survived a summer of close to 3 months of triple digit temps. We have been under heat advisories, but have yet to hit triple digit on the mercury. But the humidity is a killer (40-90%). I want a separate place to can (so I don’t heat up where I sleep).

    • I also have lots of Tattler lids and love them. So when the Snapdragon’s came for testing, I was all aboard! Yep, we’ve been having both high temps and high humidity where you have sweat dripping down inside your glasses. THAT’S nice…. Or not! I’d love to have a summer kitchen to can in. But that probably won’t ever happen. Sigh.

  5. We have had some interesting days also. A bear was in the yard, two blue birds had to be rescued from the stove pipe, and a badger killed 11 of our replacement layers. We got her but the damage has been done. Our poor chicks. That was all in one week. Hope the only interesting thing that happens this week is picking peas.🙏

    • Did you ever notice such things seem to happen in groups of 3? It’s supposed to be an old wive’s tale but I’ve seen it happen over and over so I’m not sure it’s a “tale”. Yep, we’ve had bluebirds in our stovepipe and had to let them fly out from the open stove door, all sooty and black, then herd them out the front door. No bears. Yet. And boy, I don’t want a badger in my chickens! Pea picking sounds much better.

  6. Isn’t life always interesting on the homestead? But it beats the alternative. That sounds like a grueling day for you yesterday. My excitement so far today was finding the chicken waterer (hooked up to rain barrels) had stopped running. Small potatoes compared to your day. I hope you get to relax today, and have a great 4th.

    • Yep, something is always keeping you from getting bored, for sure. Yes, things have settled down to kind of normal now. And we even got a good rain!

  7. Still remember the early September day when my husband brought home a deer in the morning, then the game warden brought us a road kill at dusk. Too warm to hang them, I had to butcher both the same day. Slept good that night when I finally got to bed. Thank God there were no cows.

    • Wow, I know you were sure hustling! I think I would have quartered one and stiffed it in an ice chest till morning. One deer is all I can handle in a day and I’d even prefer to do it in two or more days as I can up all the boned meat.

  8. Wow, what a life. I don’t think I could hold up under it. The cherries look amazing. My favorite. I planted 4 Nanking cherries last year. Two bloomed this year and I was so hoping there would be cherries but nothing.

    • Aw, you can always do way more than you think you can. I’ve found that out many times. Nankings often take a few years to start putting out cherries and as they bloom early, they’re real susceptible to late spring frosts so that sometimes puts off a harvest even longer. But they’re SO good when you do get them!

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