How to Can Cherries0
This 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
- Wash the cherries.
- Pit the cherries. Don’t have a cherry pitter? Me neither. Instead we used a plain old straw and it worked just fine.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fill your sterilized canning jars with cherries.
- 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).
- Add lids and bands; screw on tight.
- Process in a hot water canner for 25 minutes.
- Remove jars form canner and let them cool on a kitchen towel over night.
- 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…
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!