Canning cherries gives you convenient jars of cherries to have on hand for cherry pie, pouring over ice cream or in a cherry cobbler. (See my cherry rhubarb crisp recipe at the bottom of this page.)
Cherries are an acid food and can be safely water bath canned.
These directions are for either sweet cherries like bing cherries (this is what you see in the pictures) OR sour cherries that you use for pies.
Canning plain cherries in a light syrup makes it easy to create desserts of your choice later. I like simplicity!
My husband is a big fan of frozen cherries so I also froze 5 - 1 gallon bags of those as well.
He says they are just like popsicles. I say they are much better for you too.
Gather your canning supplies
Make syrup of your choice to pour over cherries. If you are doing sour cherries you may want a medium or heavy syrup.
I prefer extra light syrup. You could use just water if you don't want to add any sweetness.
You can also make a syrup with honey if you don't want to use processed sugar.
The first thing you'll have to do is pit the cherries. Pitting is the most challenging part. :0)
Actually it is not challenging but more tedious. But if you just sit down and DO IT, you can make some delicious dishes. Have a friend come over and visit while you pit.
My husband likes cherries enough that he gets my boys going and they all have a sit down and pit cherries party.
They make a mess but the cherries are pitted when they are done. I love it. I certainly don't want to pit all those cherries if I don't have to.
Actually canning cherries with the pits is perfectly acceptable but I don't really recommend it. It makes them quicker and easier to use if you go ahead and pit them now. If you want to can them with the pits just prick each cherry with a sterilized needle to prevent it from bursting.
Place cherries in jar. You do not have to heat the cherries as long as they are not cold from the refrigerator. Just a raw pack is fine.
I have found it works to add 1/2 cup or so of syrup to the jar, then fill halfway with cherries. Tap the bottom of the jar lightly on a pot holder laid on the counter to settle contents. The fill the jar the rest of the way tapping to settle without smashing. It is a balance filling the jar but not squishing your cherries tightly.
Cover cherries in jar with syrup leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles and clean rim of jar.
Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids.
For more details follow water bath canning instructions.
pints or quarts for 25 minutes.
Processing time comes from http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/cherry_whole.html
Take a Rhubarb Crisp recipe, substitute cherries for half the rhubarb... Mmmm Mmmm Good!
Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice cream.