Saturday, July 10, 2010

Storing Cherries!

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I’m quite confident that you will be hearing me say this as each new produce season comes upon us…but I do so love cherry season!  Cherries are one of the many fruits that my father-in-law works with and we enjoy the bounty that he shares with us immensely.  Although it is shocking how many cherries one Robinson (big or little) can eat at one sitting we have to process some of them for the winter months.  Sweet cherries are divine eaten fresh, and that is by far our favorite way to enjoy them.  We have also had great success dehydrating them.  Just slice – pit – lay flat on the dehydrator – and let it do its work!  Dehydrated cherries are great to use with (or in place of) raisins in cookies, granolas, etc.  Yummy yummy!  One of the easiest and fastest ways to process cherries is by canning them.  Everyone has their own method and style of canning…here’s my cherry canning strategy!

1.  Wash cherries in cold water removing stems and leaves.  (I leave the pits in.  Cuts the canning time down incredibly and the are super easy to remove as you eat and enjoy them!)

2.  Place washed cherries in clean sterilized quart jars leaving at least 1/2” head space.  (Head space is the amount of space between the top of the fruit and the rim of the jar)

3.  Make a boiling hot syrup.  (I use a super light syrup of 6 cups water to 1 cup sugar.)

4.  Pour the syrup over the cherries.

5.  Adjust two piece caps.  (Lids should be sitting in hot water to soften the rubber seal.)  Be careful not to tighten the rings too tight.

6.  Process 25 minutes in a water bath or steam canner.  (I highly recommend a steam canner…much less water, meaning much energy used to heat it up and keep it hot.  So worth it!)

7.  Remove from canner and let cool slowly away from drafts. (Too much of a temperature change too fast can cause the jars to break…a huge mess…and quite depressing!)

8.  Wash jars to remove any stickiness…label…and store away for those cold dark cherriless days of winter! 

These are a favorite!  The kidlings would eat themselves purple on canned cherries if not kept in check! 

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