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Selecting, Preparing and Canning Fruit

Cherry Pie Filling

Quality: Select fresh, very ripe, and firm cherries. Unsweetened frozen cherries may be used. If sugar has been added, rinse it off while the fruit is still frozen.

Yield: 1 quart or 7 quarts

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: See Table 1 for suggested quantities. Rinse and pit fresh cherries, and hold in cold water. To prevent stem end browning, use ascorbic acid solution.

For fresh fruit, place 6 cups at a time in 1 gallon boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Combine sugar and Clear Jel® in a large saucepan and add water. If desired, add cinnamon, almond extract, and food coloring. Stir mixture and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained cherries immediately and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately according to the recommendations in Table 2.

Table 1. Cherry Pie Filling.
  Quantities of Ingredients Needed For
  1 Quart 7 Quarts
Fresh or thawed sour cherries 3-1/3 cups 6 quarts
Granulated sugar 1 cup 7 cups
Clear Jel® 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp 1-3/4 cups
Cold water 1-1/3 cups 9-1/3 cups
Bottled Lemon Juice 1 tbsp + 1 tsp 1/2 cup
Cinnamon (optional) 1/8 tsp 1 tsp
Almond extract (optional) 1/4 tsp 2 tsp
Red food coloring (optional) 6 drops 1/4 tsp

Table 2. Recommended process time for Cherry Pie Filling in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 -3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 30 min 35 40 45

This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.

Reviewed November 2009.

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