Cherry Picking and Canning

Last week my little family and my dad ran up to the nearby orchards. It is a place that we visit multiple times a year to pick strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, rhubarb, raspberries, apples, pumpkins and everything in between.

It's a place that my parents took me, and I love taking my kids. I love getting to go there and pick my own fruit right off of the tree, or from the vine and bring it home to make treats, or carve pumpkins with my family.

Canning Cherries

So we went up with the plan of picking about 20 pounds of pie cherries, and a handful or so of a couple other kinds... But we got up there, and the trees were just covered in pie cherries. And our eyes were too big. We got greedy and we started picking. But just look at these trees and all the amazing cherries growing from them. We couldn't help ourselves!


Then someone who works at the orchard told us he would give us a great deal because we were buying so many, and we got even more greedy. I really wasn't planning on buying many cherries for myself. I went to help my dad pick and then can what we picked... but after the guy said he would give us a discount..... well, you already know where this is going....


And by the times we left, we had 49 pounds of pie cherries.... double what we went there for. And another 26 pounds of cherries to eat.... See what I mean? We were greedy!


The next morning we loaded up and headed to my dad's house bright and early. We knew it was going to be a long day of cherry pitting, as this isn't the first time we've done this! But we got to my dads, cleared the counters and got to work. As my dad and I did other things the littles would take over for a couple of minutes and pit a few cherries and then we would get back in our cherry picking routine.



It took us several hours to pit our cherries.... about 3 1/2 actually.... Finally when we were closing in on the pitting we started getting out stuff ready for the canning part of it.



And when it was time we started to fill the jars.



Finally we started to see the light at the end of the very long tunnel! We spent about 8 hours total pitting and washing cherries, washing and prepping jars, lids and rings, waiting for water to boil, waiting while the cherries were in the boiling water.... And finally when we could see the bottom of our cherry bowl we were able to start cleaning up. And thankfully I put dinner in the crockpot before I left that morning...


It was such a long day but as I start to make cherry treats, it all makes it worth it.

Here are the instructions we used for canning cherries:

Light - 2 cups sugar to 1-quart water
Medium - 3 cups sugar to 1-quart water

We actually wanted a even lighter syrup so we used about 1 cup of sugar for about 5 cups of water.

  1. Wash and pit cherries

  2. Wash jars and rings (make sure you have new lids)

  3. Fill your sink with boiling hot water and place your jars probably 6-8 at a time, depending on size) and leave jars in water bath until they are ready to be filled. (You could also wash the jars in your dishwasher right before and then leave them in there until it is time to use them, keeping the door closed to keep them hot.)

  4. Place rings in hot water as well.

  5. Get a small pan and put lids in water. Bring to a small boil to heat. You don't need to boil for sterilization, just to warm them, so you really don't need to actually "boil" them.

  6. Fill jars with cherries. You don't want to pack them too tight. and then pour in syrup. And make sure to leave a half inch of space at the top.

  7. Wipe rim with a towel to dry it off and place lid and ring on jar. You don't need to put the lids on super tight, just make sure they are "fingertip tight". (you want air bubbles to have a place to escape during boiling)

  8. Then you will put your jar onto the rack inside of your canner. (The rack rests on the edge of the canner and once you have all of your jars in it you can lower it in.)

  9. Make sure you have at least 1 inch of water over the top of the jars (add hot water if needed) And cover with lid.

  10. Return to a full boil and THEN start your timer. We boiled our cherries for 25 minutes.

  11. When your time is up remove from boiling water (we used a jar lifter) and place on the counter to let cool. As they start to cool you will hear them "ping". This is an important part of the process as it shows they have sealed properly.

  12. Allow to cool for 24 hours. Check the seal by pressing on the top of the lid. If it pops, your jar did not seal correctly and you'll want to use those right away so you don't lose your work.

  13. Label your lids with the contents and date and take to storage.


You just canned Cherries! And so did we! We ended up with about 40 jars of cherries (24 pints and 16 quarts) Plus, I brought home about 8 cups to start cooking with right away! YUM!

Stay tuned for lots of fun Cherry recipes SOON!!

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