Canning Cherries in a Water Bath Canner or Steam Canner
Do you remember biting into a sweet, juicy cherry in the summer heat and feeling that happiness bubble within you? The only thing that might top that feeling is cracking open a jar of your very own canned cherries in the dead of winter and getting to relive those sun-soaked moments. So, let’s dive into the process of canning cherries using a water bath canner or steam canner!
The Basics of Canning Cherries
Canning cherries (or any fruit, for that matter) is a timeless way of preserving their delicious sweetness to enjoy year-round. The process involves placing them into jars with sugar syrup, sealing them, and then boiling the jars in water or steam. This method kills all bacteria, yeasts, and molds that can lead to food spoilage, while also driving out the air within the jar to create a vacuum seal.
What You’ll Need:
- Cherries: You can use sweet or sour cherries, and it’s your call whether you pit them or not!
- Sugar: The amount can vary based on the sweetness of your cherries and your personal preference.
- Water bath canner or steam canner: This equipment is essential for the canning process, providing the high heat needed to kill any potential spoilage organisms.
- Canning jars: Choose jars designated for canning as these will be able to withstand the high temperatures. Make sure the jars have matching lids and bands.
Step-by-Step Guide to Canning Cherries
Step 1: Rinse and Prep Your Cherries
Start by rinsing your cherries under cold water to get rid of any dirt. Once they’re properly cleaned, pit them if you prefer, although you can also leave them whole. The pitting process is easier with a cherry pitter (a tool that removes pits from cherries), but if you don’t have one, a small knife works just fine.
Step 2: Make Your Syrup
In a large saucepan, mix sugar and water and heat to boiling. Stir continuously until the sugar is completely dissolved. As for the quantity, typically it’s a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, but you can adjust according to your taste.
Step 3: Pack the Cherries into Jars
Carefully spoon your cherries into your canning jars, leaving one inch of headspace (the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar).
Step 4: Process the Jars
Place the lids and screw on the bands, but don’t over-tighten. Now, follow the instructions on your water bath canner or steam canner and process the jars.
Voila! Your canned cherries are ready!
Once the jars have cooled completely, you should check the seals (the lids should be concave and not pop when you press them). Store in a cool, dark place, and make sure to consume within a year for the best quality.
My 2 Cents
Now, wasn’t that a cherry-rific adventure? Remember folks, although canning might seem intimidating at first, patience is key. With a little practice, you’ll be dishing out jars of your canned cherries as holiday gifts in no time. Dip into your can of delicious cherries on a chilly night and let those summer memories flood in. Cheers to tangy, delectable, home-canned cherries!
Remember, a cherry saved today is a cherry enjoyed tomorrow!