How to Can Cherries

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DSC04486This past Monday we picked a whole big bunch (30 pounds) of sour cherries. A whole heapin’ mess of that whole big bunch went to our CSA members, but we reserved enough to preserve a few pounds and make a yummy pie. I wish I had been able to get to it sooner (you should can your cherries as close to harvest as possible to maintain nutrients and freshness) but I was able to can them early on Thursday morning (happy birthday, America!). Since this adventure in preserving was significantly smoother than my adventures in strawberry jam making – and because I have 10 billion things to do this week – I’m keeping this how-to post short and sweet. (Ok, that’s an exaggeration… it’s more like 10 million things…)

Here’s the 411 on how to can cherries. (Psst! It’s super easy and involves a low sugar/syrup recipe found here.)

How to Can Cherries

  1. Wash the cherries.
  2. Pit the cherries. Don’t have a cherry pitter? Me neither. Instead we used a plain old straw and it worked just fine.
  3. Sterilize your jars. I do this by heating the oven to 225* and then places the jars, lids and bands in the oven (on a cookie sheet) for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, create the low-sugar syrup: Combine 1 1/4 cups sugar and 5 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Yields enough syrup for 6 jars.
  5. Fill your sterilized canning jars with cherries.
  6. Add syrup to cherries leaving 1/2 inch head space. Use a butter knife along the edges to work out air pockets (bubbles will come up).
  7. Add lids and bands; screw on tight.
  8. Process in a hot water canner for 25 minutes.
  9. Remove jars form canner and let them cool on a kitchen towel over night.
  10. Check seals and store.  If seals did not take, place in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

After following the process above, we were left with these four beauties…

how to can cherries

Early next week I’ll be going to back to Understory Farm and Orchard for more delicious sour cherries. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll can the next batch this same way or if I’ll make pie filling, dehydrate them for baking/granola or make fruit leathers. Either way I’m excited to add more preserved, natural, local food to our winter pantry!

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