Many people think that canning fruits and veggies is a tricky business, but in my experience, nothing can be further from the truth – especially the water bath canning. This preservation technique is easy, safe and it is a simple way to save the ripest and juiciest gifts of nature for those pale winter months.
Many people also think that you need a fancy equipment, specially made just for water bath canning – and that’s great helping gear if you have lots of stuff to can, but I do it successfully without it. As a kid, I watched how my grandmother preserves sour cherries with my aunt Eva, who was famous for her delicious cherry preserves, and I do it today to continue a family tradition. And just like my grandmother I’m canning with just a few basic kitchen gadgets. All that I use is one large, heavy-bottomed pan, recycled canning jars*, few vegetable cloths and fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, gathered ripe in the pike of the season, like these sour cherries (oh, and I forgot to mention some decorative papers and strings ;)).
So, if you don’t have any of the canning equipment, you could still try canning sour cherries with this simple recipe, and if you have few extra bucks to spend, I could recommend you to buy good canning tongs – they are quite handy things to have when working with hot jars, but if you do not have one, there is such an easy way how to safely take the jars out of the hot water, you will smile after you read it, ready? Instead of canning tongs, take a small ladle and take some hot water out of the pot – enough that you can safely put your oven mitt on and take those hot jars out… Ta-daa…
Canning Sour Cherries Recipe
I love my canning sour cherries to taste similar like they tasted in month of June, so after a few years of testing, I simplified my nanas sour cherry recipe, and I’m sticking with it.
These canned cherries are super refreshing, I eat them frequently straight from the jar (this is usually a running nose, high temperature situation), and one of my friend, lucky enough to get one of the sour cherry jar, says that they are the best remedy for a hangover ;)
The best thing about them is that they go perfectly in almost each dessert with chocolate in it…
So, if you think, you are ready to make a few sour cherry jars and surprise everybody, just look in your kitchen for a few jars and a oven mitt, and maybe in your neighbors backyard for a sour cherry tree :)
- for one pint / 500 ml/ 16 oz jar, you will need about 17 to 20 ounces / 500 to 600 grams of cherries and 3 tablespoons of sugar. That’s it.
- I canned three jars of sour cherries, so I used 60 ounces / 1800 grams of cherries and 9 tablespoons of sugar.
- large heavy bottomed pan that is deep and wide enough to put in three or four jars comfortably
- few glass jars
- metal screw-top lids
- few older kitchen towels
- spoons and ladles
- canning tongs or hot mitt
- When buying cherries, pick fully ripe fruits to ensure full flavor and can them fresh, or within 48 hours if kept in freezer, because they start to mold very quickly.
- Take your tasty cherries, pull the stems off and remove all damaged and moldy fruits. Place them in cold water. Let them sit for good 30 minutes. This step is necessary, because of the worms – if there are any in your cherries, they will come out.
- In the meantime, take your jars and wash them thoroughly in hot water. Check the lids – they have to be in impeccable state, put them in a smaller pot, pour boiling water over it and let them sit for a few minutes, then put them out to dry.
- Take the cherries out of the water into another bowl and wash them one more time to ensure that all residues are gone.
- Put them in a sieve and from the sieve place them in jars, press them gently down – the fruits should not touch the lid when closed.
- Put sugar on top and carefully fill the jar with fresh, cold water, but not fully to the top – leave a bit of empty space between water and the lid.
- Firmly close the jars with lids.
- Take your pot, put it on a stove, spread two kitchen towels on the bottom of a pot and then carefully put the jars in, making sure that they are standing right and that they do not touch each other or the pot!
- Fill the pot with cold water, set the stove on low and bring it to a boil (this step usually takes about 40 to 50 minutes).
- Let it boil gently for 10 minutes, then turn the stove off.
- Take a ladle and put some water out, so you can safely hold the jar’s top and take all of the jars out on a towel. Leave them to cool.
- Check if the lids are ok, decorate the jars with some papers and strings and store them in your pantry for months to come.
*I use recycled commercial preserving jars for water bath canning. They are perfect for this job, and you can find them under various names, depending on where they live:
Europe: jars with screw-top lid
America: pop-top jars
Australia: jars with twist off lid
Asia: metal lug cap jars.