|Rainier cherries, all year long, or while supplies last.|
I absolutely love Rainier cherries, love, love, love them. If heaven has a flavor, I’m pretty sure it is the flavor of Rainier cherries. The problem is, living in Wisconsin, this type of cherry is only available for about a month, and usually costs somewhere between 7 and 8 dollars a pound. My local grocery store usually has them on sale for about one week a year, and in the past, I eat all the cherries I can that week and dream about them
But this year, I decided to change all that. I decided to stock up and can the cherries. Last year, I canned peaches, pears, and homemade salsa, all with good results (which reminds me, I need to pick up some peaches and can those, too), so I was reasonably sure that I could handle cherries as well.
I didn’t go overboard at the store, I bought about 5 or 6 pounds of Rainier cherries (and ate a fair amount of those). I opted to can whole cherries, with the pits, for two reasons, 1, I plan on eating them whole anyways, and spitting out the pit is no big deal, and mostly, 2, I’m lazy and didn’t want to pit 5 ponds of cherries.
|Ready to be canned!|
Yesterday, I settled in, cranked my iPod and assembled all my canning supplies (which isn’t all that much, I’m still new to canning). I removed stems, washed, and poked all the cherries (to prevent splitting). I prepared an extra, extra light syrup (I used about a third of the sugar called for I the recipe for extra light syrup). I debated about using sugar at all. I researched and found it was safe to can in just water, but sugar helps to maintain the color and firmness. I decided I’d use a little bit of sugar, and hopefully find the middle ground between limited sugar and maintaining the deliciousness of the fruit.
Once it was all ready, I packed the cans with cherries and syrup, processed them and let them cool. I ended up with ten pint jars of cherries, and I figured there are 25-30 cherries in each jar, so I canned somewhere between 250 and 300 cherries. That should be enough to last me at least a couple months.
For anybody interested in getting started with canning, I have found several resources to be very helpful, particularly the Simply Canning website and the National Center for Home Food Preservation (a division of the USDA). Check them out to get started!