I was super lucky to receive an ice cream pail of wonderful sour cherries from a friend's tree. It was very hard to decide what to do with such a treasure. In the end I decided to can the cherries in a light syrup so they could be used on ice cream or maybe even pancakes! I used a recipe from Getty Stewart's Prairie Fruit Cookbook.
If you don't have this cookbook you need to get it (we have some for sale!). Getty has outlined how to preserve and cook with every type of prairie fruit from cherries to rhubarb to strawberries to crab apples. The instructions are clear enough even for a beginner. Your pantry will be set with the recipes in this cookbook!
I highly recommend investing in a cherry pitter. I have one from Lee Valley that works so well even my 4 year old can use it!
Canning Cherries - Raw Pack
Makes 7 quart (1L) jars
Water 8 cups (2 L)
Sugar 3 cups (750 mL)
Cherries 17 1/2 lbs (8kg)
1. Wash and pit cherries.
2. Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil to create a light syrup.
3. Tightly pack cherries into sterilized jars.
4. Cover cherries with light syrup, leaving a 1/2 head-space.
5. Wipe rim and seal with a hot, sterilized lid.
6. Screw band on finger tight.
7. Process in a hot water bath for 25 minutes. OR process in a pressure canner at 5 lbs of pressure for 10 minutes (this is what I did!)
8. Remove jars and leave undisturbed to cool for 24 hours. Check seals.