At first, I didn’t like canned cherries. Soft and full of liquid, they didn’t resemble the frozen fruit in any way! But somewhere along the way (in the heart of winter, I suppose), I suddenly began appreciating the texture and flavor. And who wouldn’t love these deep red gems?
My favorite method? Whole cherries canned in their own juice! I love using my steam juicer for this purpose! Oh, not for all fruit. That would take overwhelming amounts of time! But for cherries, I believe its worthwhile.
Y’see, we don’t “do” sprayed cherries. In the valley where we live there is a very.short.window.of.time between ripened fruit (ok, its not completely ripe, just mostly) and the cherry flies hatching out. Once they come out, eggs are laid in the un-sprayed cherries. Within the week, cherries are full of tiny white worms that eat and ‘do their business’ in the fruit. Disgusting!
So we harvest before cherries are fully ripe and process them in their own juice for a richer flavor! Yes, pits are included.
And this year, I decided I was going to put up several canner’s full. Here’s my favorite recipe for ya!
Whole Cherries in Syrup
- whole cherries to fill 7 qt jars
- 3+ gallons cherries for steaming
- 3 quarts (12 C) of juice from steamed cherries
- 1/2-3/4 C honey
Directions: rinse cherries in fresh water. Run two batches through steamer and keep juice. Add honey while still warm and sweeten to taste. Juice can be refrigerated overnight or cherries may be canned immediately.
Fill clean jars with clean cherries, firmly pushing them into place. Don’t squish, but pack in tightly. Set in rack over canner to warm up. Bring syrup to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over cherries in jars and seal with lid. Process according to altitude.