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How do I? ...Can Fruits

Selecting, Preparing and Canning Fruit

Sweet or Sour Cherries - Whole

Quantity: An average of 17½ pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A lug weighs 25 pounds and yields 8 to 12 quarts – an average of 2½ pounds per quart.

Quality: Select bright, uniformly colored cherries that are mature (of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking).

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

Procedure: Stem and wash cherries. Remove pits if desired. If pitted, place cherries in water containing ascorbic acid to prevent stem-end discoloration. If canned unpitted, prick skins on opposite sides with a clean needle to prevent splitting. Cherries may be canned in water, apple juice, white-grape juice, or syrup. If syrup is desired, select and prepare preferred type as directed.

Hot pack – In a large saucepan add ½ cup water, juice, or syrup for each quart of drained fruit and bring to boil. Fill jars with cherries and cooking liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace.

Raw pack – Add ½ cup hot water, juice, or syrup to each jar. Fill jars with drained cherries, shaking down gently as you fill. Add more hot liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.

Processing directions for canning cherries in a boiling-water, a dial, or a weighted-gauge canner are given in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3.

Table 1. Recommended Process Time for Sweet or Sour Cherries, Whole in boiling-water canner.
  Process 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 15 min 20 20 25
Quarts 20 25 30 35
Raw Pints or Quarts 25 30 35 40

Table 2. Process Times for Sweet or Sour Cherries, Whole in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 8 6 7 8 9
Quarts 10 6 7 8 9
Raw Pints or Quarts 10 6 7 8 9

Table 3. Process Times for Sweet or Sour Cherries, Whole in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 8 5 10
Quarts 10 5 10
Raw Pints or Quarts 10 5 10



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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