At first, I didn’t like canned cherries. Soft and full of liquid, their texture didn’t resemble the fresh or frozen fruit in any way! However, in the heart of winter, something changed! I suddenly began appreciating the texture and flavor, particularly those canned in cherry juice!
It has become a favorite canning recipe and my steam juicer is put to good use in cherry season. Because of steam juicing, it does take time. However, I firmly believe its worthwhile!
Why We Can Cherries in Their Own Juice
Because of health concerns, we try to avoid sprayed cherries. In the valley where we live there is a very short window of time between ripening fruit (ok, its not completely ripe, just mostly) and the hatching of cherry fly eggs. If left on the tree for too long, spray-free cherries begin to fill with tiny white worms that eat and ‘do their business’ in the fruit. Disgusting!
So we harvest approximately a week before cherries are fully ripe and process them in their own juice for a richer flavor, pits included.
Suppose you use perfectly ripe cherries? The flavor will only be that much more incredible!
Here’s my favorite recipe for you!
Whole Cherries in Juice
- 3+ gallons cherries for steaming
- 3 quarts (12 C) of juice from steamed cherries
- whole cherries to fill 7 qt jars
- 1/2-3/4 C honey
Directions: rinse cherries in fresh water. Run two batches through steamer and keep juice. Add honey while still warm and sweeten to taste. Juice can be refrigerated overnight or cherries can be canned immediately.
Fill clean jars with clean cherries, firmly pushing them into place. Don’t squish, but pack in tightly. Set in rack over canner to warm up. Bring syrup to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over cherries in jars and seal with lid. Process according to altitude.