How to Preserve Cherries

Cherry season is here! From cobblers to pies to toppings for ice cream, cherries remind us of those sweet, hot, and lazy summer days that seem to last forever. Not only are cherries sweet and delicious, but they are oh, so good for you. Filled with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, they are often referred to as a super food. Delightful and healthy, there's nothing like a bowl of fresh picked cherries, but you can also bring the taste of summer into your home all year long by preserving these sweet little red gems.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Things You'll Need

  • 6-7 pints of cherries

  • Cherry pitter

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 5-6 quart jars

  • 5-6 two-piece lids

  • Steam canner

Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 1

Wash the cherries in cold water. Remove the stems and pits.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 2

Fill sterilized jars with the washed and pitted cherries.

Tip

To sterilize the jars, wash them in the dishwasher with a heat dry setting. Keep them in the dishwasher until you're ready to use them. If you don't have a dishwasher, you can hand wash them in hot, soapy water, then place them upside down on a steam canner shelf. Put the lid on, bring the water to a boil and let the steam sterilize the jars until you're ready to fill them.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 3

Make a simple syrup by dissolving two cups of sugar in four cups of water. Heat over medium/high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is hot.

Tip

If you are preserving more cherries, you'll need approximately one cup of water for each quart of cherries. You'll need to make a simple syrup with two parts of water to one part of sugar. For example, for ten quarts of cherries, you'll need to make a simple syrup with ten cups of water and five cups of sugar.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 4

Fill the jars of cherries with the hot simple syrup to 1/2-inch from the top. Wipe the rim with a clean, wet cloth and attach hot, sterilized 2-piece lids to the tops.

Tip

To sterilized the two piece lids, just place them in a small saucepan full of boiling water for a few minutes.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 5

Fill the steam canner with water to one inch from the top. Insert the shelf. Evenly distribute the jars and set the canner lid over the jars. Bring the water to a boil and when the steam is venting through the hole in the front of the canner, start the timer. Process for 25 minutes.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 6

After processing for 25 minutes, take off the lid and remove the jars with an oven mitt. Place them on a clean towel. When you hear the jar lids ping, that means they are sealing. When the jars are cool, run your finger along the center of the lids to check if they sealed. If the lid springs back, that means it didn't seal and should be placed in the refrigerator. A sealed jar of cherries should last for at least 18 months when kept in a cool dry place. An unsealed jar of cherries will keep in the fridge for a week or so.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Now, pop open a jar of these babies anytime to pour over ice cream, put in a pie or create a cobbler. YUM!

Image Credit: Beth Huntington