Sweet cherries are usually best served as a snack. Most canning and baking is done with sour cherries. However, there are many recipes that use sweet cherries. Learning how to can sweet cherries in apple cider is a great way to preserve this summer fruit without adding too much extra sugar. The best part is the apple cider really helps them taste like the holiday season.
So How do You Can Cherries in Apple Cider?
What’s great about canning fruit is you can do it in syrup, water, or juice! What is even more festive is canning in apple cider for a nice holiday treat. All of these options are pretty safe and easy. They are also much cleaner and easier than canning jams.
Canning cherries a pretty simple process, especially if you have ever canned jellies or jams. The process is going to be much of the same, however, it’s not going to be as messy. If you have never canned before, please reference my Canning 101: Water Bath Canning and Strawberry Jam.
Getting Started with Your Cherry Canning
Starting is the hard part of anything. In order to can cherries you will need the following supplies:
How to Prepare and Can Your Sweet Cherries
For this recipe I used about 3lbs of cherries. The first step is the most time consuming; pitting the cherries. I literally just cut them in half and pulled the pit out. It is messy, and if you choose not to use gloves, then your hands may be stained red for a few days.
Once you do that, make sure to put your cherries into a cold water bath mixed with lemon. The acidity prevents the cherries from browning because of the exposure to oxygen.
You can choose to process your cherries un-pitted. Just make sure to poke the skin with a needle before processing. Otherwise, your cherries will/may explode. I choose not to do this because you have to pit them once you take them out anyway.
Canning The Sweet Cherries
After you have pitted your cherries, begin heating up your canning jars in your humongous canning pot. You will also be heating up your lids in a separate pot.
Begin boiling your apple cider.
Once the cider has reached a rolling boil, let it boil for about 2 minutes.
Remove the hot jars, fill them with cherries and then slowly ladle the juice into the jars, leaving half an inch to an inch of space on top. You want to make sure that the cherries are completely covered with the juice and there is enough space on top.
Wipe the rim of the jar, then place the lid (which you have just warmed up) onto the jar. Tighten the ring onto the jar just enough to stay on. Repeat for all jars and then process like normal. I provided information below for reference on how long your cherries should be processed.
Processing the Cherries
If you hot pack: Process pints 20 minutes and quarts 25 minutes. Hot packing means you boiled the cherries with the juice before filling the jar.
If you raw pack: Process pints 25 minutes and quarts 30 minutes. Raw pack means you filled the jars with raw cherries before you added the juice. I processed mine this way.
When Canning Don’t Forget to Adjust for Altitude
Below are Altitude Adjustments for Water Bath Canning
Altitude in Feet Increase processing time by:
1,001-3,000 feet – increase by 5 minutes
3,001-6,000 feet – increase by 10 minutes
6,001-8,000 feet – increase by 15 minutes
8,001-10,000 feet – increase by 20 minutes
When your cherries have completed the water bath canning process, they will have a wonderful “spice” taste added from the apple cider.
How to Use Canned Sweet Cherries
These cherries can be eaten right out of the jar. This makes for a great Christmas or holiday gift. You can dress up the jar or place the jar in a basket for gifting with other treats. Consider canning of few other items and place alongside the cherries (like strawberry jam! If you’re really adventurous, you could even soak them in rum after opening.
These canned sweet cherries can also be cooked in a stove with the apple cider, adding a bit of corn starch to thicken the sauce, then added as a topping on ice cream.
Other sweet cherry recipes:
PIN THIS FOR LATER