How To Can Cherries at Home (No Pressure Canner)

Canned Cherries in Jars

Learn how to make canned cherries at home with my step-by-step easy guide! Can your cherries in water, juice, or syrup. You can use your canned cherries for cherry pie filling later in the year or eat them whole with a spoon as I do.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • No preservatives used;
  • No need for a pressure canner;
  • Super quick and easy recipe;
  • Stays good for up to 2 years;
  • Can be used for cherry pie filling;
  • You can use both pitted cherries and the ones with the seed in;
  • A great way to preserve cherries for winter.
  • Goes great with an unsweetened (or sweetened without sugar) cup of tea

Swaps and Substitutes

Cherries – I used sweet cherries because we have an abundance of them in June, but you can use sour or even frozen cherries!

Sugar – don’t leave out the sugar as it is the preserving agent in this recipe. You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar used. If you cringe at the amount of sugar canned goods require (sometimes I cringe, too), use some homemade apple cider to can your cherries in! The juice can then later be warmed up and used as a hot drink.

Water – use water to make the syrup. If you are canning your cherries in juice then leave out the sugar and water! You can use the liquids later and add them to tea or a smoothie.

Ingredients

Ingredients for Canning Cherries at Home
  • Cherries
  • Water
  • Sugar

What is the Difference Between Hot Pack and Cold Pack Canning?

Hot pack canning is when you first bring the syrup and cherries to a boil and then pour them into jars. Cold pack canning is where you pack the cherries into the jars first and then pour the hot syrup onto them. If you are using frozen cherries then hot packing is your best bet as the temperatures won’t jump from super cold to hot and it would lower the risk of your jars cracking.

How to Adjust Sugar Levels in Your Canned Cherries

You can use light syrup by adding 1 ½ cups of sugar to 6 cups of water. Medium syrup would be 1 ½ cups of sugar to 5 cups of water. Strong syrup would be 1 ½ cups of sugar to 3-4 cups of water. Choose whichever you like best! Just remember that you shouldn’t leave the sugar out completely as it serves as a preservative for your cherries.

What Jars Should I Use for Canning?

You will find many sites online that suggest you only should use Mason-type jars for canning as jars from canned tomato sauce or mayonnaise you bought at the store will not be strong enough to handle the processing stage. Another reason those sources don’t recommend such store-bought jars is their lids. They say that those lids are not safe and that the two-piece metal jars with a flat top and a ring are the safest to use when it comes to canning. BUT. Those recommendations are only widespread in the western part of the world, or rather in the US.

Carolyn from Homesteading Family writes that one-piece lids are totally safe to use, they are reusable (unlike the two-piece lids), and according to USDA don’t affect the safety of canned products. The reason USDA doesn’t recommend them is that they weren’t able to test it due to the costs it would involve. Another comment Carolyn makes is that you can totally reuse the jars you have from canned foods you bought at the store. They are strong enough to handle the processing as they need to be durable due to the rough handling during transportation from the manufacturer to the store. A likely reason behind caution concerning those jars is the marketing of the Mason-type jars. Imagine if everyone would start reusing their mayo jars from the store! Mason jar companies would have income problems.

I only reuse jars I have from store-bought goods. I also reuse their lids. My jars do not break during processing and sealing works great!

Water Bath Guidelines

In order to process jars in a water bath, you need a large pot to fit the jars, a can lifter, and something to place on the bottom of the pot so that the jars do not touch it (jars can crack if they are in direct contact with the bottom of the pot). There are products that are specifically designed for this purpose. Make sure the jars are covered with water above their lids. Keep jars in boiling water for about 20 minutes, then turn the heat off, take off the lid, and let the jars sit in the hot water for about five minutes before lifting them out of the pot to avoid a temperature shock.

Do I Need to Sterilize Jars Before Canning?

If you are processing your jars in a water bath for at least 10 minutes then you don’t need to sterilize the jars as they will be sterilized during the boiling process. All you need to do is wash both lids and jars in warm soapy water before using. However, if you want to be extra cautious you can go ahead and sterilize your jars as well. Just keep in mind that lids should not be put into the hot oven together with the jars as the rubber ring on the jar lids might burn if you heat them too much.

How to Make Canned Cherries at Home

Hot Pack Canning

Step 1

Pit the cherries using a cherry pitter or any other tool that works well for you. I used an old vegetable peeler with a narrow and sharp end. To prevent your cherries from browning you can store them in a bowl with water that has lemon juice added to it (optional) until you are ready to proceed to the next step!

Step 2

Add 1 ½ cups of sugar to a pot with 5 cups of water. Feel free to increase the sugar levels if you desire, or add an additional cup of water if you think the syrup will be too sweet. Heat the water with sugar until all sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Step 3

Preheat your jars to avoid the glass shattering after you add extra hot cherries to cold jars. I heated my jars by placing hot water into them and letting them sit for a couple of minutes.

Step 4

Place cherries into a large pot and cover it with sugary water. I am not giving the exact measurements, because they will differ depending on how juicy your cherries are and how much liquid you prefer in your jars. You want to make sure that all cherries are submerged in liquid though. Some cherries will float to the top after you jar them, that is okay, the extra liquid will rather be seen on the bottom of the jars.

Bring the cherries to a soft boil and then scoop them into the jars with the syrup leaving 2 cm of head space in each jar.

Step 5

Seal the jars with their lids really tight and place them into an extra-large pot with hot water. Bring the jars to a boil and process for 20-25 minutes. Leave the jars in the hot water for 5 minutes, then take them out and let them cool slowly. Store in a dry place avoiding direct sunlight. Once opened, the cherries should be used within a week.

Cold Pack Canning

Step 1

Pit the cherries using a cherry pitter or any other tool that works well for you. I used an old vegetable peeler with a narrow and sharp end. To prevent your cherries from browning you can store them in a bowl with water that has lemon juice added to it (optional) until you are ready to proceed to the next step!

Step 2

Add 1 ½ cups of sugar to a pot with 5 cups of water. Feel free to increase the sugar levels if you desire, or add an additional cup of water if you think the syrup will be too sweet. Heat the water with sugar until all the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Step 3

Preheat your jars to avoid the glass shattering after you add extra hot cherries to cold jars. I heated my jars by placing hot water into them and letting them sit for a couple of minutes.

Step 4

Pack the cherries into the jars and cover them with the hot sugar syrup leaving 2 cm of head space.

Step 5

Seal the jars with their lids really tight and place them into an extra-large pot with hot water. Bring the jars to a boil and process for 20-25 minutes. Leave the jars in the hot water for 5 minutes, then take them out and let them cool slowly. Store in a dry place avoiding direct sunlight. Once opened, the cherries should be used within a week.

Homemade Canned Cherries

Tips for Success

– Use fresh ripe cherries for the best flavor.

– Make sure the water covers your jars completely while processing the jars in the boiling water bath.

Be creative with the cherry-pitting tool! Look around your kitchen and see if you find something that fits the task. I used a vegetable peeler and it worked great!

– Make sure your jars are warmed up before adding hot syrup to them.

Homemade Canned Cherries Jar

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Home-Canned Cherries Last?

If properly sealed, your cherries will last for 1.5-2 years. Once opened, store in the fridge and consume within a week.

What Can I Make with Canned Cherries?

You can make a cherry pie, cherry crumble, or cherry cobbler or you can eat the cherries as is. You can add the cherries to a fruit salad and freeze the juice as a popsicle!

How Do I Make Canned Cherries Taste Better?

Can your cherries in apple cider made from homemade apple juice. Add a few drops of vanilla or almond extract to the jars to make them taste even better! Use the juice from the cherries for drinking later on.

What Can I Do with the Juice From Canned Cherries?

Your options are endless. You can drink the juice as is, freeze it as a popsicle, add it to lemonades or water, cook rice in it, use it in marinades, flavor a bowl of oatmeal with it, or add some of it to a cup of tea.

Can Fresh Cherries Be Canned?

Yes. You will need to wash and pit the cherries before canning, separating any rotten ones from the batch!

What are Some Other Ways to Preserve Cherries?

You can always freeze your cherries if you don’t want to go through the canning process.

Can Cherries Be Canned with Pits?

Yes! If you want, you can can cherries with pits, just be mindful of it when you go to use your cherries later. Don’t make a pie with such cherries or someone might break a tooth!

Can I Use Frozen Cherries for Canning?

Yes, you can! For frozen cherries, I would recommend the hot-pack canning method (explained above).

Canned Cherries in Jars

How to Can Cherries

Natasha
Easy canned cherries at home to preserve them for the colder season!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 39 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine European
Servings 5 cans
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 cherry pitter if using fresh cherries
  • jars for canning (as many as you need)
  • 1 large pot for processing the jars

Ingredients
  

  • Cherries as many as you need
  • Water depends on how many jars you are making, details in the instructions
  • Sugar details in the instructions

Instructions
 

Hot Pack Canning

  • Pit the cherries using a cherry pitter or any other tool that works well for you. I used an old vegetable peeler with a narrow and a sharp end. To prevent your cherries from browning you can store them in a bowl with water that has lemon juice added to it (optional) until you are ready to proceed to the next step!
  • Add 1 ½ cups of sugar to a pot with 5 cups of water. Feel free to increase the sugar levels if you desire, or add an additional cup of water if you think the syrup will be too sweet. Heat the water with sugar until all sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  • Preheat your jars to avoid the glass shattering after you add extra hot cherries to cold jars. I heated my jars by placing hot water into them and letting them sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Place cherries into a large pot and cover with the sugary water. I am not giving the exact measurements, because they will differ depending on how juicy your cherries are and how much liquid you prefer in your jars. You want to make sure that all cherries are submerged in liquid though. Some cherries will float to the top after you jar them, that is okay, the extra liquid will rather be seen on the bottom of the jars. Bring the cherries to a soft boil and then scoop them into the jars with the syrup leaving 2 cm of head space in each jar.
  • Seal the jars with their lids really tight and place them into an extra large pot with hot water. Bring the jars to a boil and process for 20-25 minutes. Leave the jars in the hot water for 5 minutes, then take them out and let them cool slowly. Store in a dry place avoiding direct sunlight. Once opened, the cherries should be used within a week.

Cold Pack Canning

  • Pit the cherries using a cherry pitter or any other tool that works well for you. I used an old vegetable peeler with a narrow and sharp end. To prevent your cherries from browning you can store them in a bowl with water that has lemon juice added to it (optional) until you are ready to proceed to the next step!
  • Add 1 ½ cups of sugar to a pot with 5 cups of water. Feel free to increase the sugar levels if you desire, or add an additional cup of water if you think the syrup will be too sweet. Heat the water with sugar until all sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  • Preheat your jars to avoid the glass shattering after you add extra hot cherries to cold jars. I heated my jars by placing hot water into them and letting them sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Pack the cherries into the jars and cover with the hot sugar syrup leaving 2 cm of head space.
  • Seal the jars with their lids really tight and place them into an extra large pot with hot water. Bring the jars to a boil and process for 20-25 minutes. Leave the jars in the hot water for 5 minutes, then take them out and let them cool slowly. Store in a dry place avoiding direct sunlight. Once opened, the cherries should be used within a week.

Notes

– Use fresh ripe cherries for the best flavor.
– Make sure the water covers your jars completely while processing the jars in the boiling water bath.
– Be creative with the cherry pitting tool! Look around your kitchen and see if you find something that fits the task. I used a vegetable peeler and it worked great!
– Make sure your jars are warmed up before adding hot syrup to them.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 100kcal
Keyword Canned Cherries
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

What’s Next?

Have you made your own homemade canned cherries? Share your experience in the comment section below! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below, and I will gladly respond.

Natasha.

Hi, I am Natasha! Glad to see you here. Hope you join along as I discover and share great recipes that make family cooking easier and more fun! To learn more about me, read my story of how I went from a world traveler to a countryside home cook. Read more…

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