It would be great if we could have nice fresh cherries year round, but we can't. However if you love cherries as much as I do, you will be glad to settle for the next best thing, canned cherries. They are great for cobblers, dessert toppings, making ice cream, cakes and so many other delicious concoctions that I am not even going to try and name them all. You can find them on the shelves of your favorite grocery store all year round, or if you are real adventurous like me, you can even can them yourself.
If you think you would like to have some canned cherries sitting in your kitchen cabinets that you made with your very own hands (they always taste the best) it might be a fun way to spend an afternoon. You only need a few items, and I have a very easy step by step method that has always kept me well supplied with my favorite fruit anytime my sweet tooth called. Even canned cherries have that unparallelled flavor you can't help but love, so give it a try. Here we go.
If you have a pressure canner, that is great. If you don't, just use a pot deep enough to cover the jars. That is the way our ancestors did it, and it worked fine. You are going to need about 2 ½ pounds of cherries for each quart. This recipe is for 7 quarts.
First wash your cherries and take off the stems. After doing that, it is time for removing the pits. There is actually a special little tool you can buy especially for the job, but if you don't have one just do it in what ever manner you choose. Some people are picky and like to keep them intact, but hey, they are going to taste the same, so don't worry about it.
After your cherries are washed, stemmed and pitted, it is time to make some syrup. All you need to do is put around 4 cups of sugar and 8 cups of water in a pan and bring it to a boil. If you like, while your syrup is boiling, you can go ahead and fill seven quart jars with cherries. This is the amount of jars that most canners hold. If you are just using a pot, see how many will fit in it before you get started. If it only holds five, just start off with that many. When your syrup is nice and thick, go ahead and pour it over the cherries in the jars until the jar is full to around ½ inch from the top. After you have filled the jars, go ahead and put on the lids. Don't forget the rings to make sure they stay air tight.
Next, go ahead and bring the water in the canner or pot to a boil and place the jars in the boiling water for approximately 30 minutes. After they have been in the boiling water for the 30 minutes, go ahead and remove them and sit them on a kitchen towel or whatever you have handy and allow them to cool.
After they have cooled, you need to - do nothing. Your job is over unless you want to go ahead and can some more while you are already at it. Don't do too much though. If you try to do dozens of jars at once it will become a chore. Keep it fun and easy. There is always tomorrow to make another batch.
Your canned cherries will be good for a year, and then you can just do it all over again. You will have a better idea about how many to make the second time around. If you ran out half way through the year, you know to make twice as much. You might even want to make some extras for friends or family members. Everybody loves canned cherries and they make a great gift item. Have fun.