Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cherry Season

Here in Southern New Jersey cherry season is short and sweet. On opening day we picked 20 pounds- enough to freeze, can, and give away. One of my favorite things to do with them is to make Cherry Pie Filling. It works well on top of cheesecakes, waffles, in pies, and- well, you get the idea. Its a nice beginner water bath canning recipe. Have fun, and I hope you get some NJ cherries this year!

Cherry Pie Filling
(recipe from Simply Canning)

Gather your canning supplies:
water bath canner
canning jars
canning seals and rings
jar lifter
canning funnel
large pot or blancher
large spoons
sharp knife
towels and dish cloths
cherry pitter - optional
stock pot to cook cherries

Cherries - 6 quarts usually sour is preferred for pie filling, but I also use sweet cherries.
7 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups flour or cornstarch
9-1/3 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp Cinnamon - optional
2 tsp Almond Extract - optional

Place cherries in boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Drain. Keep warm. I do this simply by covering the pot until I am ready to mix in sugar mixture.Wash and pit cherries. This is the most challenging part. But if you just sit down and DO IT, you can make some delicious dishes. Have a friend come over and visit while you pit.

Combine sugar and corn starch in a large pan. Add water and cook over medium heat stirring constantly.

When product begins to thicken and bubble, add the lemon juice and boil for 1 minute.

Add cherries, stirring gently to mix.

Fill hot jars with hot cherry pie filling leaving 1 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids.

Process for 30 minutes. Jars should pop when sealed.

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