Classically Canned Cherries

Canned Cherries- Putting Up with ErinCanned Cherries- Putting Up with Erin

Last Tuesday morning I was abruptly jolted from my sweet sweet slumber by a loud knock at the door. My first thought, “who the hell is knocking at my door at 9am?” followed by, “oh yay! a visitor”, followed by, “oh god, please don’t be my landlord”. Making sure I wasn’t about to answer the door in my skimpy floral pjs, I threw on my robe, and then peered through the peak-hole. The intruder? A nice UPS man with a HUGE package (bend… and snap!). I wasn’t expecting a shipment/ had forgotten that I was expecting a shipment. I saw the Washington State Fruit Commission return address and faintly remembered agreeing to be a canbassador months ago. Excitement ensued quickly followed by insane anxiety as I was leaving for CA, which gave me a mere 2 days (!!!) to come up with and process 18lbs of bing cherries. Yikes!

Canbassador program? Heck yes, I want to be a canbassador! Wait, what’s a canbassador? Early last month I joined the canning ranks and was invited by the Washington State Fruit Commission and Sweet Preservation to participate in their Can’bassador program. I had to clarify with them, but the gist of the partnership is: I say, “yes”, and they send me a box of delicious Washington-grown cherries. Sweet! Literally. With 18lbs of cherries (probably 2lbs straight into my belly) I have several recipes coming your way over the next week.

Canned Cherries- Putting Up with Erin

I know that cherry season in the Northeast isn’t for another few weeks, but I figured I’d give you some time to muster up your enthusiasm and get your tools (def. buy a cherry stoner) and ingredients together for cherry season. Make a mess, eat too many cherries, and have fun.

Canned Cherries- Putting Up with Erin

Also, a quick-cherry protip. To prevent browning after you pit your cherries. Soak cherries in water and lemon juice until time to use. Simply add 1 tsp of bottled lemon juice to 1 gallon of water. Drain cherries before use but don’t rinse.

Classically Canned Cherries

Yield: 4-5 pint jars


  • 12 cups whole sweet cherries (pitted or not)
  • 1/2 cup sugar per quart of cherries (1-1/2 cups for this cherry amount)
  • splash of water


  1. In a large-sized, non-ionized pot combine cherries and sugar. If you decide to keep the pits in add a little bit of water to the pan to prevent burning cherries.
  2. Stirring frequently, cook over medium-high heat until cherries have released plenty of their liquid. Bring to just a boil. Remove from heat. Cherries will cook down a bunch.
  3. Using a slotted spot scoop cherries into pint or quart jars leaving approximately 1/2 inch headspace. Pour syrup over the cherries leaving ~1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles.
  4. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings (finger tight), and process in a hot water bath for 15 (for pints) and 20 (for quarts) minutes.
  5. Remove jars from canner and let cool on folded towel for 12-24hours. Check seals, and remove rings.
  6. Consumption ready. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

7 responses to Classically Canned Cherries

  1. Is the yield right on this recipe. If you start with 1.5 quart of cherries (= 3 pints) and a half cup (.5 pint) sugar, and nothing else, how can you end up with more than 3.5 pints? Am I missing something?

    • Hi Drew- I think the math is getting mixed up here. Use 1/2 cup of sugar (.25pint) per 4 cups (1 quart… or 2 pints) of fresh uncooked cherries. My 12 cups (6 pints) of fresh cherries cooked down to approx. 8 cups (4 pints) of fresh cherries. Hope this clarifies things.

  2. Links: Cherries, Chick Pea Crackers, and Winners - Food in Jars

  3. Oh, boy. I was looking for something to do with the cherries I see in season at the store. My parents’ garden has nothing as all of the animals have gone through and eaten everything. I don’t have a cherry pitter but will think of something. We only get sweet cherries here so this is a great recipe for me to start with.


  4. There wasn’t enough cherry juice to cover the cherries so I used water. Might be a good idea to have some bottled cherry juice on hand in case this happens to you.

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