Lorraine gave it to me as a special treat. Here’s the story behind it: She was shopping at Harry & David’s (If Medford is known for anything besides flannel-shirted real men in trucks, it’s Harry & David’s). Being cherry season, she found giant Bing cherries for the outrageously low price of 99 cents a pound. She was ready to snap up the bargain when she noticed an elderly couple picking up a lug of cherries and exclaiming what a deal it was for five dollars. (I googled “lug” and learned that in fruit/veggie terms, a lug is anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds).
Lorraine, who has roots in the Philippines, found herself in the classic Asian shopping dilemma: buy just the quantity of cherries she needed at 99 cents per pound or buy 30 pounds for five dollars? She did what I, who have roots in India, would have done without a hesitation–She bought a lug of cherries.
As she got to the counter, she realized she’d need a cherry pitter. So she bought a pitter for $9.95. (It wasn’t too bad because it could double as an olive pitter)
She still had an afternoon of work to put in before heading home and it was too hot a day to leave the cherries in the car. So she decided to store them in the refrigerator at work. But, thinking she couldn’t just leave them in the refrigerator and not share them with her colleagues, she stopped to buy some plastic bags that the people at work could use to transport the cherries. They cost her a couple of dollars.
By the end of the work day, about half the cherries were gone and Lorraine was glad to have shared. Even half a lug was a good bargain.
That evening, she sat down to pit the cherries, looking very Rockwellian in her apron, pitter in hand, Duane keeping her company. The glow of happy cherry pitting was, however, overshadowed quickly as the kitchen counter and Lorraine were sprayed with fresh bursts of cherry juice.
After almost two hours of labor (which is an equivalent of at least $18), the cherries were all ready to be bagged and frozen. Except there wasn’t enough room in the freezer. So now Lorraine found herself in search of Plan B. A research of an old Betty Crocker Cookbook revealed that she could can the darn cherries. A survey of her pantry revealed that she had room to store them too. Yea!
Only one problem remained: She had no canning jars. So off to Bi Mart she went to buy some jars (add several more dollars to the price of cherries at this juncture).
But the cost didn’t stop with the jars. The recipe required her to wash the jars and make a syrup prior to canning. (Include cost of more of Lorraine’s time, soap, water and electricity, and sugar).
I find myself hesitant to open this jar of cherries.