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The best tips for canning cherries will largely depend upon the taste preferences of the individual. Fruits should be picked just prior to canning to ensure freshness and crispness is maintained. The high acid content of cherries means that they can safely be canned in a variety of different liquids, including syrup, water, or juice. Other tips for canning cherries include picking unpitted cherries, sterilizing jars, and properly packing canning jars.
Just prior to canning cherries, the fruits should be picked, washed, stemmed, and pitted. Only the ripest cherries should be used for canning. They should all be of a uniform color and without blemishes. The closer the cherries are in color to each other indicates that they are all at the same ripeness level. Any bad spots should be cut out before canning, and mushy cherries should be left completely out of the canning process.
Cherries should be thoroughly washed and drained before canning. Some people prefer to leave the stems on cherries when canning so they are easier to handle individually. If the cherries are going to be used later as a filling or dessert topping, however, stemming the cherries before canning them might be beneficial.
Like the stems, the pits in cherries can either be left in or removed before canning. If the cherries are going to be eaten individually, people might prefer to just leave the pit intact. People may find it easier to remove the pits before canning cherries if the fruit is to be used later as a filling or topping. If the pits are left in the cherries, the fruits should be pricked with a needle or a fork to prevent splitting.
The high acid content in cherries makes it safe to use a hot water bath canner in the process. Most fruits have a high enough acid content to make preserving in a hot water bath canner safe. Some fruits and the majority of vegetables, however, require either pickling or pressure cooking to guard against botulism.
The type of liquid used when canning cherries primarily depends upon the preference of the individual. A light or heavy syrup is often used for cherries that will later be used in pies, cobblers, or as a filling. Plain water can also be used if no extra sweetness is desired. Some people even like to use grape juice as a canning liquid for cherries.
Proper canning procedures should always be followed in order to produce quality results. Canning jars should be sterilized before canning cherries. Cherries should be completely covered in the canning liquid, and enough head space should be left at the top of the jar to allow for bubbling and expansion of the cherries.
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