Homesteading Family Logo
This site contains affiliate links to products we recommend. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Canning Cherries at Home

Enjoy freshly picked cherries year-round with this water bath canning method. Canning cherries at home with juice, not sugary syrup, is easy with this recipe. Read on to learn how and enjoy this delicious fruit without added sugars. 

Canned cherries with a basket of cherries on a table.

Why I Love Canning Cherries

Cherries are one of many foods I can throughout the summer, providing a delicious, pesticide-free, seasonal fruit that we enjoy year-round. The beautiful crimson-red color on my pantry shelf reminds me of summer days gone by, but not forgotten. 

I am passionate about growing and using garden produce and preparing and preserving good wholesome foods for my family. While not every food can be canned, home-canned foods fill our pantry so we are eating well on a budget which is essential for our large family. 

I developed several preserving day tips for less overwhelm through trial and error over the last twenty years. It brings me joy knowing that I am preserving delicious and nutritious foods; it is an important part of my life.

The satisfaction of preserving pickles to canning raw meats, garden vegetables and fruits inspired me to teach and offer The Abundant Pantry: Canning Class. I want to share this knowledge that I have successfully learned over the years using the water bath and pressure canner methods.

Storing a year’s worth of food reminds me how blessed we are to use this simple method of food preservation. Several canning mistakes to avoid for both pressure and bath canning were practiced by our ancestors for years, making it beneficial to pass on to future generations.

Do You Have to Pit Cherries Before Canning

My kids really enjoy spitting cherry pits while eating fresh or canned cherries. I am happy to eliminate the time-consuming step of pitting them prior to canning. 

However, when I prepare to can cherry pie filling, I pit the cherries with a cherry pitter, but with this recipe, you don’t have to; it’s a personal preference.

Fresh picked cherries on a tray.

Can Cherries Be Water Bathed Canned

Yes! Because cherries are a high-acid food (with a pH of around 3.2 to 4.5), they can safely be water-bath canned. You can also safely hot pack or raw pack cherries. 

Many people don’t like the added step of hot packing cherries (boiling the cherries first). With the raw pack method, they turn out delicious and beautiful. 

My favorite preservation tools on a budget and where to find canning supplies when there is a shortage can help you with the tools you’ll need to water bath can using this method. I like to keep things simple!

Fruit cobbler in a baking dish and served on a plate.

Ways to Use Canned Cherries

Canned sweet cherries are delicious right out of the jar, especially if you eat them as my family does with the pit intact. If you decide to pit them before canning, the recipes are endless.

This easy fruit leather recipe, quick and easy fruit cobbler recipe, or homemade healthy instant breakfast mix can be made with canned cherries. Using the juice from the canned cherries is a nutritious and delicious way to sweeten without added sugars.

The juice from raw-pack canned cherries can be used for my switchel recipe or added to my homemade cherry almond kombucha recipe for a delicious depth of sweet cherry flavor!

A woman canning cherries in the kitchen.

Supplies Needed

  • Glass Canning Jars with Lids and Rings – The size of jars you use is a personal preference, quart jars hold approximately 4 cups of cherries. Homesteading Hack: Clean and dry the jars, checking for nicks and cracks. Use new lids with a solid rubber seal to keep your preserved cherries’ shelf stable.
  • Large Bowl or Bucket – Keeping your fresh cherries prepped and ready to can in a large bowl next to your jars is efficient. 
  • Saucepan – A six to eight-quart saucepan with simmering water to heat the jar lids and rings ensures a tight seal.
  • Water Bath Canner – You can also use large pots as a water bath canner. As long as the jars can be covered with water and you add some canning rings to the bottom of the pot, it will work great.
  • Large Stock Pot – One large enough to hold and heat your apple cider is helpful.
  • Large Ladle – Scooping the apple cider out of the stock pot into the jars with minimal spills keeps clean-up time to a minimum.
  • Canning Tools – Canning tools make the canning job easier. A funnel, tongs, bubble remover tool/headspace tool, and a jar lifter are all great. 
  • Clean Dish Rags – Use clean dish rags to keep the top of the jars free from any juices or food particles that may prevent a solid seal. I also use them to wipe the jars down before storing them in my pantry.
  • Labels and Marking Pen – I recommend labeling all items in your pantry. These cherries look like pie cherries, so labeling them will eliminate any confusion.

Ingredients Needed

  • Cherries – Fresh cherries cleaned, with the stems removed and pitted, if that is your preference.
  • Apple Cider, Juice or Water – We use apple cider that we have pressed in the fall, but apple cider or juice from the store works well too. 
  • Almond Extract (optional) – A small amount poured into each jar adds a delicious cherry almond flavor to the juice. Homesteading Hack: Vanilla extract added with the almond extract makes a gourmet flavored juice our family enjoys drinking after opening a jar of cherries to snack on.
Washed cherries in a colander.

Canning Cherries Step by Step

  1. Fill the large canning pot two-thirds full with clean water and bring it to a boil. Allow room for water displacement when you add your full jars of cherries. Homesteading Hack: Have a teapot of boiling water ready in case you need to add more water if needed. 
  2. Fill your saucepan half full with water and bring to a simmer. 
  3. Place your canning lids and rings in the saucepan of hot water to get the seal warm and pliable to create a solid seal on the canning jar after it’s filled.
  4. Heat your canning jars in a warm oven at 170°F. Homesteading Hack: Slightly warming your jars before filling them with cherries and hot apple cider keeps them from cracking or breaking. Don’t use cold jars; if they crack, it makes a mess and wastes precious ingredients.
  5. Using the large stockpot, heat your apple cider to a simmer until ladled into the jars of cherries.
  6. Fill the warm canning jars with fresh cherries to the bottom rim on the neck of the jar. Gently press the cherries down, being careful not to smash them.
  7. Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of almond extract to each jar, depending on the jar size.
  8. Place your funnel on the jar and ladle the hot apple cider over the cherries, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Homesteading Hack: Don’t overfill your jars. Overfilling the jars can cause siphoning, which can inhibit a proper seal for the fruit. I use the bottom rim mark on the neck of the jar as my guide and double-check it with my headspace tool.
  9. Using a clean kitchen towel dipped in water, gently wipe around the rim, cleaning any food or juice on the jar rim. Homesteading Hack: To ensure no stickiness, food particles or defects on the glass jar rim, I use a clean, dry finger and go around each jar as a secondary measure. 
  10. Use the magnetic lid lifter (magic wand) and place a hot lid on top of each jar; they cool quickly once they come out of the water. Be careful when separating two stuck lids; the water between them is hot.
  11. Using your magnetic lifter, grab a ring and hand-tighten each jar to fingertip tight. Homesteading Hack: Fingertip tight means tightening the ring just until you feel resistance, then turning ¼ turn more (or about how tight you can tighten the jar using two fingers and a thumb).
  12. If your canner is at a rolling boil, reduce the heat slightly and, using your jar lifter, place each jar into the water bath.
  13. Ensure the jars are covered with an inch or two of water. If not, now is the time to add more. Leave space between each jar, and bring the water back to a rolling boil.
  14. Once the water is at a steady active boil, set your timer for the proper time according to the chart. Remember, this recipe is using the raw-pack method, so canning times will be longer. 
  15. Style of packJar sizeProcess time (in minutes) at 0-1,000 ftProcess time (in minutes) at 1,001-3,000 ftProcess time (in minutes) at 3,001-6,000 ftProcess time (in minutes) above 6,000 ft
    HotPints15202025
    HotQuarts20253035
    RawPints or quarts20253540
    Chart courtesy of Penn State Extension
  16. After you have met the recommended time for your elevation, use your jar lifter tool and carefully remove each jar. 
  17. Place jars on a towel-lined counter and let them sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Homesteading Hack: Allowing the canned jars of cherries to sit undisturbed is important. This will ensure the rubber seal becomes firmly set to the jar as it slowly cools. 
  18. After 24 hours, remove the canning band, wipe down the jars and around the lid with a damp kitchen towel, mark the lid with the contents and the date, and place them on your pantry shelf. Use within the next 12 -18 months for optimum flavor and nutrients.

Now that you know how simple it is to can cherries at home, you won’t have any wasted fruit from your cherry trees. You can even ask around to friends and neighbors who may not eat all their fresh cherries to see if you can come and pick their extras! Sharing a jar or two of home-canned cherries as a thank-you is always welcomed!

A blue water bath canner next to multiple jars of canned peaches sitting on a butcher block counter top.
A woman canning cherries in the kitchen.

Canning Cherries (Raw Pack Method)

Enjoy freshly picked cherries year-round with this water bath canning method. Canning cherries at home with juice, not sugary syrup, is easy with this recipe. Read on to learn how and enjoy this delicious fruit without added sugars. 
3.80 from 64 votes
Print Pin
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Water Bath Canner or large pot
  • Canning Tools
  • Mason Jars & Lids

Ingredients

  • cherries cleaned and stemmed
  • apple cider or juice or water
  • almond extract optional

Instructions

  • Fill the large canning pot two-thirds full with clean water and bring it to a boil. Allow room for water displacement when you add your full jars of cherries. Homesteading Hack: Have a teapot of boiling water ready in case you need to add more water if needed.
  • Fill your saucepan half full with water and bring to a simmer.
  • Place your canning lids and rings in the saucepan of hot water to get the seal warm and pliable to create a solid seal on the canning jar after it’s filled.
  • Heat your canning jars in a warm oven at 170°F. Homesteading Hack: Slightly warming your jars before filling them with cherries and hot apple cider keeps them from cracking or breaking. Don’t use cold jars; if they crack, it makes a mess and wastes precious ingredients.
  • Using the large stockpot, heat your apple cider to a simmer until ladled into the jars of cherries.
  • Fill the warm canning jars with fresh cherries to the bottom rim on the neck of the jar. Gently press the cherries down, being careful not to smash them.
  • Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of almond extract to each jar (optional), depending on the jar size.
  • Place your funnel on the jar and ladle the hot apple cider over the cherries, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Homesteading Hack: Don’t overfill your jars. Overfilling the jars can cause siphoning, which can inhibit a proper seal for the fruit. I use the bottom rim mark on the neck of the jar as my guide and double-check it with my headspace tool.
  • Using a clean kitchen towel dipped in water, gently wipe around the rim, cleaning any food or juice on the jar rim. Homesteading Hack: To ensure no stickiness, food particles or defects on the glass jar rim, I use a clean, dry finger and go around each jar as a secondary measure. 
  • Use the magnetic lid lifter (magic wand) and place a hot lid on top of each jar; they cool quickly once they come out of the water. Be careful when separating two stuck lids; the water between them is hot.
  • Using your magnetic lifter, grab a ring and hand-tighten each jar to fingertip tight. Homesteading Hack: Fingertip tight means tightening the ring just until you feel resistance, then turning ¼ turn more (or about how tight you can tighten the jar using two fingers and a thumb).
  • If your canner is at a rolling boil, reduce the heat slightly and, using your jar lifter, place each jar into the water bath.
  • Ensure the jars are covered with an inch or two of water. If not, now is the time to add more. Leave space between each jar, and bring the water back to a rolling boil.
  • Once the water is at a steady active boil, set your timer for the proper time according to the chart. Remember, this recipe is using the raw-pack method, so canning times will be longer. 
  • After you have met the recommended time for your elevation, use your jar lifter tool and carefully remove each jar. 
  • Place jars on a towel-lined counter and let them sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Homesteading Hack: Allowing the canned jars of cherries to sit undisturbed is important. This will ensure the rubber seal becomes firmly set to the jar as it slowly cools. 
  • After 24 hours, remove the canning band, wipe down the jars and around the lid with a damp kitchen towel, mark the lid with the contents and the date, and place them on your pantry shelf. 
  • Use within the next 12 -18 months for optimum flavor and nutrients.

Notes

  • Don’t overfill your jars. Overfilling the jars can cause siphoning, which can inhibit a proper seal for the fruit. I use the bottom rim mark on the neck of the jar as my guide and double-check it with my headspace tool.
  • To ensure no stickiness, food particles or defects on the glass jar rim, I use a clean, dry finger and go around each jar as a secondary measure. 
  • Fingertip tight means tightening the ring just until you feel resistance, then turning ¼ turn more (or about how tight you can tighten the jar using two fingers and a thumb).
  • Allowing the canned jars of cherries to sit undisturbed is important. This will ensure the rubber seal becomes firmly set to the jar as it slowly cools.
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
A man and wife smiling.

Welcome to Homesteading Family!

Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

Sign Up for Updates

Get the latest homesteading tips delivered to your inbox weekly.

Popular Posts

Read by Category

Healthy Healing at Home

Free 4 video workshop on how to confidently use homemade herbal remedies!

More to Explore

Continue Reading

Cornstarch in a wooden bowl with dried corn kernels on the counter.

Versatile Cornstarch Uses for Home & Kitchen

From helping with laundry to personal care and even household tasks, cornstarch proves to be a versatile and handy ingredient that can simplify your

Previous
Next

Homestead Kitchen Membership!

Join over 1,500 Homesteaders and grow together.

Become a Confident and Self-Sufficient Homesteader