Fruit trees are a great thing to have in your garden. From apples and pears to cherries, plums and prunes, they are Mother Nature's exclusive sweets. Compared to sugar-laden commercially available candies, seasonal fruits are actually good for you, so they're safe to eat!
Of course, you can consume this fruit in its natural state. You can also make cakes, pies, preserves and pickles. There is only one obstacle to overcome before you can start using your kitchen: you need to pick the ripe fruit from the tree.
If you have a tall fruit tree in your garden, you'll need to invest in a telescopic fruit picker. They are available everywhere and come in handy year after year. This gardening tool looks a bit like a rake, with its fork forming a circle and a small basket made of cloth, wire or plastic basket attached to a telescopic pole.
All you do is extend the pole until the basket is under the fruit you want to pick. Then shake it until you have the apple, pear or whatever it is safely in the basket.
Telescopic Fruit Picker
Please consider purchasing a tripod ladder. They have a wide base area on one side of the traverse and a third leg on the other side to create a tripod effect and provide additional support.
Tripod ladders often have different heights and retractable/adjustable legs.
All the different types of cherries have something in common, such as the time of year when they usually ripen. There are two main varieties of cherry trees: those that produce sweet cherries and those that produce sour cherries. These two types start growing just as the last few cold snaps of spring are coming to an end. Since they start earlier in the calendar, they can usually be picked as early as late spring or early summer. If you will be picking in inclement weather, proceed with caution. If it is raining or snowing, it is best to avoid ladders or tarps under the trees. Do not go outside during thunderstorms.
Fruit Picker Basket
Lay a tarp on the ground to collect any cherries that fall as you work, and have your spotter lift a fruit picker basket so you can collect on a ladder. Your plans for cherries will affect the type of cherries you choose. For example, tart cherry varieties are often used for cooking and baking; while sweeter varieties are usually fresh.
Leaving the stems on the cherries will help them remain edible longer, as the stems are somewhat resistant to spoilage. If you plan to eat cherries raw, it is best to keep the stems. Whether you keep the stems or not, be sure to store your selected cherries out of direct sunlight whenever possible.
Also, regardless of your plans, you should refrigerate all picked cherries as soon as possible after picking. Cherries can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two to three weeks, especially if they are of the sweeter varieties, such as Bing cherries.
The only exception to this rule is if you are picking from a cherry bush that offers sweet fruit. In this case, you can eat them off the stem as soon as you pick them off the tree.
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