cherry jarsOur local fruit stand had cases of beautiful bing cherries, so we couldn’t resist spending a couple of days canning.  With purple fingertips, we stemmed and pitted 40 pounds of cherries and turned them into pretty jars of Cherry Pie Filling, Cherry Jam, Cherry-Boysenberry Jam, Cherry-Raspberry Jam, Cherry Vanilla Bean Syrup, and plain bottled cherries (that can be eaten as-is or spiced up for sauces).  It was exhausting but worth the effort now that the jars are in neat rows on the pantry shelves.  Some of the jam and syrup will make for sweet Christmas gifts in December.

I love home canning because I know every ingredient that goes into my jars (i.e., no high fructose corn syrup!).  Whether you are canning, freezing, or drying cherries for food storage, you will want to invest in a “cherry stoner.”  Here’s a link to a Suction Base Cherry Stoner on Amazon that’s a great price: Victorio VKP1009 Cherry Stoner, Suction Base It is a handy device that quickly pits the cherries.  Although it occasionally misses a pit, it does a good job and saves oodles of time.

Once the cherries are washed, stemmed and pitted, the fun can begin.  First, to can the plain cherries, we filled pint jars tightly with the fruit and made a mixture that was half water and half apple juice (which brings out the flavor of the cherries) with about  1/8 cup of honey per pint jar.  We then poured the mixture into the jars, covering the cherries and leaving about 1″ headspace.

cherries

(I’m not sure how the Tupperware ended up on the burner during this process, but luckily the flame was off.)

cherries2 

We then pressure canned these jars for 10 mintes.  We’ve decided we’ll just water-bath cherries in the future though, because the fruit holds its shape much better that way.  Still, they taste great and my husband has already eaten two pints straight from the jar.

For the Cherry Pie Filling and Cherry Vanilla Bean Syrup, I used the same basic syrup recipe with minor alterations.

CHERRY SYRUP

In a large pan, mix together:

4 1/2 c. white sugar

1 c. Hoosier Hill Farm Clear Jel, 1.5 Lbs.

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg 

Combine and add to dry ingredients in pot:

2 tsp. salt

5 c. cherry juice

4 c. water

Stir the water mixture into the sugar mixture and bring to boil.  Cook until thick and bubbly.  Remove from the heat and ADD:

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

Pour the mixture over cherries in quart jars for pie filling, leaving a generous 1″ headspace  (the hot syrup expands, so this is important to ensure  the jars don’t overflow).  Clean jar rims and attach lids and rings before processing in a water bath canner for 25 minutes.

To make the Cherry Vanilla Syrup, add two vanilla beans (that are sliced open) to the syrup as it heats.  When the syrup is thick and bubbly, stir in chopped cherries to your liking. You can leave the syrup plain, but I like to add the chunks of cherry.  Remove the vanilla beans and pour the syrup into hot pint jars.  Clean jar rims, attach lids and rings, and process for 25 minutes in a hot water bath canner.

pancakes

The Cherry Vanilla Syrup was so delicious it prompted pancakes at midnight! My dad said it “tasted like Christmas.”

For the jams, I used recipes from the low-sugar powdered pectin boxes (like Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin, Light, just altering the combination of fruit to total the amount needed.  If it called for 6 cups of chopped cherries, I used 3 cups cherries and 3 cups raspberries or boysenberries to total 6 cups.

 

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13 Comments to “Cherries Jubilee!”

  1. Becky Bradshaw says:

    Where did you find your boysenberries to make the jam? All I can find are blackberries.

    Thanks for a terrific site!

  2. Kim says:

    Thanks Becky! Actually, I had purchased fresh boysenberries at the grocery store earlier in the year when they went on sale, and had them in my freezer.

  3. Becky Bradshaw says:

    Are you in Utah and if so, can you tell me which grocery store that you bought them at? I have searched all year, plus I have searched the internet trying to locate them. I can find blackberries, but no boysenberries!

    Also, thanks for a great page on cherries!

  4. Becky Bradshaw says:

    I should have added that if I know which store has had the berries in the past, I can watch for them next year when they are in season.

  5. Kim says:

    I’m pretty sure I bought the boysenberries at Harmon’s, and I think they were on sale for $1 / carton.

  6. Becky Bradshaw says:

    Thanks! I will watch for them next year!

  7. Brandy says:

    You really are good! I haven’t been ambitious enough to can yet. And it’s so hot down there!! They look delicious!

  8. Brittney says:

    you’re AMAZING! I want to watch you cook bread sometime so I know all the tricks. Could that be arranged someday? I am hoping my kitchenaid is strong enough to stir bread dough. I have that lecithin i want to try using so maybe my bread can be as soft as yours.

  9. Carolyn says:

    What do you mean by “clear gel”? in your cherry syrup recipe.

  10. Monique Jeppson says:

    Can you bottle the cherry syrup or do you just bottle the juice and make the syrup fresh from the juice when you want it? If you can it, how long do you process it?

  11. Monique Jeppson says:

    Never mind my previous question. I just didn’t read the syrup directions carefully before I asked the question. You already had the answer to my questions in the directions. Thanks for this GREAT info!! I’m excited to try the syrup!

  12. […] I am picking up 2 cases of peaches and a case of apples tomorrow from my local produce co-op with plans for canning and drying this weekend.  If I run out of steam before the fruit is canned, I may freeze some for smoothies too!  So, it was necessary to reclaim some freezer space.  I still had some cherries in the freezer (red tart and bing) and decided to make another batch of my favorite Cherry Vanilla Syrup. […]

  13. […] I am picking up 2 cases of peaches and a case of apples tomorrow from my local produce co-op with plans for canning and drying this weekend.  If I run out of steam before the fruit is canned, I may freeze some for smoothies too!  So, it was necessary to reclaim some freezer space.  I still had some cherries in the freezer (red tart and bing) and decided to make another batch of my favorite Cherry Vanilla Syrup. […]

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