By now you know that I don't like to add tons of sugar to my food. I especially like to avoid a ton of refined sugars in my canned and preserved food. So, I bring you my canned cherries. I almost can't wait to pull these little jewels out of the pantry this Winter. But I can definitely wait for Winter. I raw packed these cherries in 100percent no sugar added apple/cherry juice. I usually can my peaches in a white grape/peach juice blend and they are beautiful peachy treats in the winter.
I am a big fan of Old Orchard frozen juice concentrates. They have no added sugar and come in really great juice blends. I love their apple cherry juice. If you can't find this juice, plain apple juice or white grape juice will work for this recipe.
I am also a really big fan of a cherry pitter. I would not can cherries without one. They make life easier and even the kids love to use this contraption. In my house the cherry pitter means I will have instant cherry pitter volunteers.
1 can of pepared apple cherry juice concentrate will fill about 2 1/2 quarts of raw packed cherries. So stock up on enough to fill however many jars you are canning.
Pitted cherries 2 1/2 pounds per quart.
Fruit Fresh (ascorbic acid)-Optional
Prepare your fruit. This can take a little time. Fill large bowl of cherries with water. Discard any cherries that float to the top. Rinse cherries and pit cherries. If you don't pit your cherries poke with a sterilized needle to prevent bursting during processing. Place cherries in water with Fruit Fresh to avoid discoloration (follow the directions for quantity on the package.
Drain when ready to place in jars.)
Sterilize your glass jars and rims(Remember I just use the sanitize setting on my dishwasher) and keep warm until ready to use. Simmer your jar lids in warm water (Do not boil).
Heat juice to boiling on the stove.
Raw pack method:
Place appx. 1/2 cup of juice in warm jars. Pack with cherries, shaking gently to settle cherries and then pour hot juice over cherries until 1/2 inch from the top. Using a plastic knife, gently run the plastic knife up and down through the cherries to remove bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean wet cloth or paper towel to remove any sticky juice. Place lids and rings on jars and process in a boiling water bath or steam canner for recommended time. Processing times depend on size of jar and your elevation above sea level. Google or call your local extension service for safe canning times. I processed my quarts for 40 minutes because I am over 6000 ft above sea level. Jars were sealed properly if you are no longer able to push up and down on the lid.
Hint: Make sure there are no chips or nicks in your jar rims.