I'm not a fan of canned cherries from big-box stores, but I absolutely adore fresh canned cherries. If you think you don't like canned cherries, give these a try – they might just change your mind.

Step #1 is to wash and pit the cherries.  I have been cutting cherries in half for years to can them and I finally broke down and purchased a cherry pitter.  It was a game changer so if you don't have a cherry pitter, get one!  

There are  two ways to can cherries.  Raw Pack and Hot Pack. 

Raw Pack 

Fill jars with cherries.  Gently shake jars to pack cherries closely without crushing, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Add your hot syrup to cover the cherries leaving ½ inch headspace.    Remove air bubbles.  Process pints and quarts 25 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

To prepare light or medium syrup, simply heat the water and sugar in a sauce pan until sugar dissolves. 

  •  Light syrup - 2 ¼ cups sugar to 5 ½ cups water
  •  Medium syrup - 3 1/4cups sugar to 5 cups water

This makes 6 ½  - 7 cups.  Depending on the amount of cherries you are canning, you will need to adjust accordingly.

Hot Pack

Measure cherries and put in a large saucepot.  
Add ½ - ¾ cup sugar for each quart of cherries.  
Cook mixture slowly until sugar dissolves and cherries are hot throughout.  Add  just enough water to prevent stickling.  
Ladle hot cherries and juice into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.  
Add boiling water or syrup (see recipe from raw pack) to cover cherries, if needed, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  
Process pints 15 minutes and quarts 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.