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Ripening wild cherries
Sun 24-Apr-11
1:30 pm
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Hedge-Hunter
Northamptonshire

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Last year I fancied the idea of making up a batch of cherry brandy having found a couple of trees nearby. 

After watching the crop ripen patiently during the spring and early summer, I then discovered that the local avian population is capable of stripping a tree of it's cherries in no time at all and leaving me with nowt but a few odd leftovers. doh

 

This year I have a plan. smug

Is it possible, I wondered, to grab the fruit just before they ripen fully and the birds start taking an interest and ripen them on at home???

 

Several searches on the web give differing answers, some say yes, some say no. 

I know that bananas give off ethylene gas that ripens fruit in close proximity to it and wondered if this might be a trick to use. Or maybe just leaving them in a bowl on a sunny windowsill will do the job.

So can any of you clever people shed some light on this for me please???

Thanks.

Sun 24-Apr-11
1:46 pm
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Sooliz
Somerset

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I don't know, Damian, I've wondered the same thing, as we have 3 or 4 massive cherry trees (not sure of the variety, definitely not dessert, they are quite sour) in our garden.  The same thing happened to us last year, which was our first year in this house - one minute the trees were absolutely loaded with fruit, the next it was virtually gone!  Wasps seem to be very partial to it too.

I was also waiting until the fruit on our plum tree ripened, but then noticed the birds were stripping that very quickly, so managed to pick what was left (which amounted to around 7 or 8 pounds of fruit, if I remember rightly).  Some of what I picked wasn't ripe, but did ripen very quickly indoors.  So this year I'm definitely not waiting for the plums to ripen, I'm picking them before the birds get their greedy beaks into them (our need/want is greater than theirs, I'm afraid! I might leave them the odd one or two wink).

So it's possible it might work with the cherries, I guess - give it a go, I will.

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Sun 24-Apr-11
2:04 pm
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kayerunrig
lincolnshire

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It wont hurt them to pick a little early if your cooking them , or be crafty ,if you dont need a whole tree full wrap a piece of horticultural fleece or even net curtain round a branch full , thet way you get to share with the birds

Sun 24-Apr-11
4:44 pm
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brightspark
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Sorry Damian, but I think you have to share your crop with the birds, or cover them in netting (this is what we do, although still lose some fruit).  thumbs_down

This website recommends not to pick until fully ripe and mature (scroll down to 'Cherries' ) and also say that they will not ripen once removed from the tree.

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Sun 24-Apr-11
4:53 pm
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brightspark
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I have just found this website which suggests that commercial fruit growers sometimes use the ethylene gas to help with the transportation period. However, if I read it correctly, there is a suggestion that cherries soften when exposed to it.

Have a read, and see what you think.

Lakeland sell bags specially designed for keeping fruits/veg fresh for longer, I wonder what it is that lines these bags to enable this to work.

Very interesting subject.  ok

"Work for a cause, not for applause
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Just make your absence felt"
Sun 24-Apr-11
6:21 pm
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seth
lincolnshire fens

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As you've discovered wild cherry isn't known as bird cherry for nothing . wave

Seed catalogues are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than the web and playboy combined . (after Michael Perry)

Sun 24-Apr-11
10:24 pm
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Toffeeapple
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This is Bird Cherry - different from wild Cherry.  We have so many Bird Cherry trees here that I think we can feed all the birds for weeks.

I'll try that again!

Mon 25-Apr-11
3:30 pm
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Hedge-Hunter
Northamptonshire

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The fleece or netting would be a fine idea if the trees were in my garden but they're not unfortunately.

The link to the site about ethylene was very informative. At my last company we used ripening rooms for customers who wish to sell certain fruits as "ripe and ready to eat" but I don't ever remember us doing cherries in them.

 

Maybe the way to go at this is to try an experimental couple of batches and see what happens and post the results here. However in the meantime please keep the comments coming and thanks for those already left.

 

There is now a Plan B and it is a most cunning one at that. smile

In the last few days I have discovered a wood nearby with public access and more cherry trees than one could shake several sticks at. Maybe if I'm quick on the draw I'll be able to grab enough of the leftovers from all the trees to give me enough to make my brandy.

 

Watch this space!

Mon 25-Apr-11
8:17 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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Love it, Damian. I can hear Arthur Daly over your left shoulder saying, "Ingenuity, my son. Ingenuity devil "

I will be really interested to hear results of any ripening tests you carry out.

So will an awful lot of people on here I reckon ok

Never knowingly underfed

Mon 22-Aug-11
2:13 am
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Hedge-Hunter
Northamptonshire

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Sorry to leave it so long before updating on the cherry situation.

 

It was another fail this year. A prolonged dry spell through April and May followed by some high winds deprived both me and the birds of any cherries this year.

When I visited the trees I found this years crop laying on the ground still greenaargh

Such a shame to see.

Still never mind, the great thing about seasons is that they come right around again before you know it. smile

Tue 23-Aug-11
9:10 pm
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Glen
Northumberland

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It has been the opposite for me this year for the first time.

Last year was the first year my small cherry tree was ready to crop (a Lidl special offer a couple of years ago). I checked one afternoon and said "I'll get them harvested tomorrow" (you can guess what's coming) - the very next morning I got up and.... not a single cherry left!    -   Lloads of satisfied looking fat birds waddling about on the lawn though steam  (no politically incorrect jokes about fat birds please! laugh)

 

 I went to the nearby woods where there are some wild cherry trees and there was only one or two left at the very top. Too high to reach.

This year I got a bit of netting on eBay but it only covered about 1/4 of my tree. BUT, I got absolute masses of big lovely ripe cherry's off it in 2 pickings a few days apart. I also got loads of wild cherry's (it was doing a search on making liqueur following that that led me to this web site) from the wild trees - they also were lovely and sweet. Why they were left this time, or if I just caught the right day by sheer chance before the birds did I do not know. I suspect that the very local birds  had eaten their fill and maybe no flock had found them, but it's only a guess. 

When I went back a couple of days later, someone had managed to pull lots of branches off the wild trees to get to the cherries angry  - All they had to do was pull them gently down with a stick like I do,  pick the cherries off and release them gently back up and just accept that you can leave the highest ones for the birds! Grrr.

 

Looking forward to the cherry liqueur at Christmas though medicineyum yum.

 

Meus terra erro est frigus

Mon 29-Aug-11
5:07 pm
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Hedge-Hunter
Northamptonshire

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Glen said:

When I went back a couple of days later, someone had managed to pull lots of branches off the wild trees to get to the cherries angry  - All they had to do was pull them gently down with a stick like I do,  pick the cherries off and release them gently back up and just accept that you can leave the highest ones for the birds! Grrr.

 

Looking forward to the cherry liqueur at Christmas though medicineyum yum.

It does so annoy me when folks cause damage in order to strip a tree or bush bare. In any case I always believe that a true forager should leave plenty behind for others, be they humans or wildlife. steam

Whilst out last week gathering what I believe are some sort of wild damson/plum that make a splendid gin I had to resort to climbing a neighbouring ash tree as I'd left my "hook on a stick" at home. doh

Even with this height advantage there were still fruits I could not reach so the birds won't be out of pocket. 

Glad to hear that someone has had some success. Hope the liqueur turns out well. cheers

Lets hope the cherries that the vandals grabbed give them a case of the galloping trots and teach them a lesson. flaming_nora big_laugh

Mon 29-Aug-11
6:15 pm
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shelley
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mmm cherry vodka!!!

 

Just our to forage some blackberries and some haws from behind our house; going to make hawthorn brandy with the haws; YUMMY!

Mon 29-Aug-11
6:51 pm
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ep
Bulgaria

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I've just found a pear tree with little pears on¦..no they are meant to be that way and I only spotted it when I was clearing the outside of my hedge after we had done the fence¦..so tomorrow¦I am out with my bucket and, no, not spade, and collecting them. I think Peters is going to picked pears¦.winkwinkand where's the pears that peters picked, pickled...that's the pears not peters...but there again....eeek

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