So, my canning experience is pretty minimal. I have done tons of jams and jellies. I have also done a lot of fruit. But, I haven’t done any meats or veggies yet (unless the veggies have been pickled.) Part of the reason is that I don’t find canned meats or veggies to be all that tasty. I guess since I have a freezer, it’s just easy to throw them in there. However, homesteading requires self-sustainability. So at some point in the future I should probably jump on the meat canning train.
For the moment, I am going to stick to my fruits. Specifically, we are going to focus on canning cherries! 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.
Today we’re going to look into canning holiday cherries. It’s a pretty simple process and if you have canned jellies or jams, you’re going to follow much of the same system. If you have never canned before, please reference my Canning 101: Water Bath Canning and Strawberry Jam.
What you will need:
How to Prepare:
For this 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.
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.
If you hot pack: Process pints 20 minutes, 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.
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.
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. I mean, the cold weather calls for a few adult indulgences once in a while, right?