The first time I had canned cherries, I wasn’t a fan! Their soft texture didn’t resemble the fresh or frozen fruit in any way. However, over time they grew on me and after I discovered the best way to can sweet cherries, I thoroughly fell in love!
The Best Way to Can Sweet Cherries
The secret to delicious, home canned cherries is to preserve them in cherry juice! I have an old stainless steel steam juicer from the 70’s that I employ whenever cherry season comes around. After steaming several loads of cherries, I then proceed to can whole fruits in the lightly sweetened juice.
The Recipe You Need
For this recipe you’ll need:
- 12-15 lbs (roughly 3 gallons) of cherries for steaming
- 18-20 lbs of whole cherries for packing 7 quart jars
- 1/2-3/4 C honey (or as desired)
Directions: in cold water, rinse your steaming cherries. There’s no need to remove the stems; they won’t affect the flavor of your fruit! Fill the steam juicer’s basket and process your cherries, one batch at a time. Collect the juice and set it aside. After the 3rd batch is finished, measure your juice.
To make 7 quarts (7 litres) of canned sweet cherries, you’ll need 3 quarts (12 C) of cherry juice! If needed, you can add a little extra water.
Juice can be refrigerated for several days. When you are ready to preserve your cherries, heat the liquid to a rolling boil. Add honey or sugar and sweeten to taste.
Wash your canning jars and your cherries.
This time, be sure to remove the stems! Pits can be left intact.
Once prepared, your whole cherries should be packed into quart jars. While you don’t want to squish the fruit, you do want a tight fit! As they soften in the canner they will compress a bit, and no one wants to feel as if they’ve wasted space!
Set the filled jars on the rack over your canner to warm them up. Slowly pour hot juice into the cherry-filled quart jars and seal with hot lids. Process according to your altitude!
How to Use Canned Sweet Cherries
Because of their pits, we prefer to eat these fruits straight from the jar! In the winter, you’ll find that a bowlful after dinner is a delicious treat, a reminder of past summer days.
Canned cherries also make a great topping for ice cream or yogurt. Just remember to inform your guests that there are still pits in them!