Canning Cherries with Honey

When someone offers to send you a whole box of freshly picked Bing cherries?

You say yes.

Even if canning cherries will add an extra measure of craziness in between back-to-back trips and 4-H events.

And that’s exactly what happened when Northwest Cherry Growers emailed me and offer to ship me a box of cherries if I’d create a canning recipe featuring them.

I’ve been on a canning kick lately anyway–how could say no?

canning cherries with honey

So I didn’t.

Even though they arrived in the mail the day before I left for Amish Country to visit the Lehman’s Hardware store. And I had a small heart attack trying to figure out how I was going to can them in the middle of packing to leave.

Thankfully, unwashed cherries will last up to two weeks in the fridge (yes, I emailed them to ask).

Crisis adverted.

This time, at least.

Anyway, I’m home from my fabulous trip to Lehman’s (seriously– it’s Homesteader’s Paradise) and what better post-trip project than canning cherries?

(Ironically, I totally missed the fact that Lehman’s has a stellar cherry pitter… If I had thought to grab one while I was there, it would have saved me about two hours of work and a lot of splattered cherry juice in my kitchen…)

canning cherries with honey

These were sweet cherries. And not just the regular kinda mushy, kinda blah sweet cherries I’m accustomed to from the grocery store. These were vibrantly sweet. And I couldn’t bear the thought of smothering them with tons of white sugar, so I decided to use a light honey syrup instead.

(Normally tweaking canning recipes is extremely unsafe and a big no-no. Thankfully, when it comes to sweeteners, you have a bit more leeway in many cases.)

Thankfully, as far as food preservation goes, canning cherries is pretty darn easy. I had it wrapped up early afternoon, even in the midst of post-trip mental fog and unpacking.

Honey canned cherries, y’all. Make ’em. You won’t regret it.

canning cherries with honey

Canning Cherries with Honey

You Will Need:

Yield: 7 quarts

  • 14 to 17 pounds of fresh cherries (roughly 2 pounds of cherries per quart jar)
  • 3 cups honey
  • 10 cups water

Instructions:

Pit the cherries (see note below).

Place the honey and water in a large saucepan or pot and bring to a boil.

empty mason jars for canning

Ladle about 1/2 cup of the honey water into each of the seven quart jars. (Make sure to heat the jars first– I like to do this by simmering them in my canning pot while I’m prepping the other food.)

Place the pitted cherries into hot, waiting jars. Fill the jars to the top with cherries, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. (I lightly tapped the jars on my counter to help the cherries settle and was able to fit more fruit into each jar)

Ladle the hot honey water into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top.

Remove the bubbles from the jars, wipe the rims, and affix two-piece lids.

Process quarts** for 25 minutes in a boiling water canner. (Add more time if you are at higher altitude.)

(New to the idea of canning and not sure what all of this means? I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step right here!)

Eat your honey canned cherries straight from the jar, over ice cream or oatmeal, or add to pies and cobblers. They won’t last long!

**You may also can cherries in pint jars. The method is exactly the same and you still process pints for 25 minutes.

canning cherries with honey

Notes about Canning Cherries

  • The exact amount of the honey syrup you need will vary depending on how tightly you pack your jars
  • Have a bounty of cherries? This recipe doubles (or quadruples) easily!
  • Sweetness of cherries varies, so feel free to adjust your honey syrup accordingly. You could also can these in fruit juice– just be sure to boil the juice (just like you do with the honey syrup) before adding it to the jars and proceeding with the rest of the recipe as written.
  • I love cherries. I hate pitting them. Pitting hacks abound (paper clips, bobby pins, etc…) but my favorite diy cherry pitting method is as follows: Find a glass bottle with a narrow mouth. Remove the stem and set the cherry on top of the bottle mouth. Use a metal straw (like this one) to poke out the pit. It will fall into the bottle, reducing the mess and leaving you with a perfectly pitted cherry. You can also get this Cherry Pitter from Lehmans. It’s inexpensive and I imagine worth every penny. Now, only if I had discovered all these handy-dandy tips before I spent 2 hours pitting the cherries I used for this blog post recipe. Argh.
  • It’s perfectly fine to leave the pits in when canning cherries. However, as tempted as I was to do that, I decided I didn’t want to have to deal with the pits later, so I opted to pit first.
  • If you have sour pie cherries, you could also can them using this method. You’d just want to increase the amount of honey in the syrup, or sweeten then when you’re ready to use them (such as in pie fillings)

canning cherries with honey

Other Home Canned Recipes & Tutorials You’ll Love

Print

Canning Cherries with Honey

canning cherries with honey

  • Author: Jill Winger
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 7 quarts
  • Category: Food Preservation
  • Method: Canning

Ingredients

  • 14 to 17 pounds of fresh cherries (roughly 2 pounds of cherries per quart jar)
  • 3 cups honey
  • 10 cups water

Instructions

Pit the cherries (see note)

Place the honey and water in a large saucepan or pot and bring to a boil.

Ladle about 1/2 cup of the honey water into each of the seven quart jars. (Make sure to heat the jars first– I like to do this by simmering them in my canning pot while I’m prepping the other food.)

Place the pitted cherries into hot, waiting jars. Fill the jars to the top with cherries, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. (I lightly tapped the jars on my counter to help the cherries settle and was able to fit more fruit into each jar)

Ladle the hot honey water into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top.

Remove the bubbles from the jars, wipe the rims, and affix two-piece lids.

Process quarts** for 25 minutes in a boiling water canner. (Add more time if you are at higher altitude.)

Eat your honey canned cherries straight from the jar, over ice cream or oatmeal, or add to pies and cobblers. They won’t last long!

**You may also can cherries in pint jars. The method is exactly the same and you still process pints for 25 minutes.

Notes

  • The exact amount of the honey syrup you need will vary depending on how tightly you pack your jars
  • Have a bounty of cherries? This recipe doubles (or quadruples) easily!
  • Sweetness of cherries varies, so feel free to adjust your honey syrup accordingly. You could also can these in fruit juice– just be sure to boil the juice (just like you do with the honey syrup) before adding it to the jars and proceeding with the rest of the recipe as written.
  • I love cherries. I hate pitting them. Pitting hacks abound (paper clips, bobby pins, etc…) but my favorite diy cherry pitting method is as follows: Find a glass bottle with a narrow mouth. Remove the stem and set the cherry on top of the bottle mouth. Use a metal straw (like this one) to poke out the pit. It will fall into the bottle, reducing the mess and leaving you with a perfectly pitted cherry. Now, only if I had discovered all these handy-dandy tips before I spent 2 hours pitting the cherries I used for this blog post recipe. Argh.
  • It’s perfectly fine to leave the pits in when canning cherries. However, as tempted as I was to do that, I decided I didn’t want to have to deal with the pits later, so I opted to pit first.
  • If you have sour pie cherries, you could also can them using this method. You’d just want to increase the amount of honey in the syrup, or sweeten then when you’re ready to use them (such as in pie fillings)

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