I have loved Maraschino cherries since I was a very small girl in South GA… I mean, I would throw myself in the floor and pitch a royal fit if I asked for some and I was refused (I was kind of a brat…iggles) .
Now as an adult and a homesteader I decided to can my own sweet cherries in a light simple syrup. The process seemed simple enough; I had done water bath canning before, things like peppers and jellies, how hard could this be? Ha!
These were the steps I used:
1) I washed the cherries and removed the stems.
2) I left the pits in (They fall right out after they are processed and it is kinda fun to spit the pits 🙂 )
3) I sterilized all the jars and lids in boiling water
4) I made the simple syrup using 3:1 ratio; 3 cups water to 1 cup sugar
5) Put the cherries into the clean sterilized jars and added the syrup leaving 1/4 inch head space.
6) Wiped the rims clean and added the lids
7) Placed then gently into a hot water bath and let it come to a boil and timed it for 25 min.
8) Removed from water bath
I did seven pints of cherries like this 4/3 jars at a time. I could not wait to hear that “PING” of the lids sealing. As I am removing the jars from the pot I am noticing a luscious red liquid streaming down all but one of the jars. They were leaking! All that time and “effort” and I could not let them cool and put them on a shelf for later use , not to mention not hearing all of them go “PING” …In my research as to why this would happen I found some people saying, “as long as they seal they are okay”, but I’m not one to take that chance. I want a clean seal!
So I kept researching and found that I might need to leave 1/2 inch head space and leave the jars in the water bath for about 5 minutes after I turn off the stove; this is supposed to secure the lids in there place and allows the fruit and syrup time to stop boiling before they are removed from the pot. So, I will definitely do these two things next time.
I put 4 pints of cherries in the refrigerator, gave 3 away to family, and I have already devoured 2 of those pints that were in the refrigerator all by myself… they are delish!
Oh, and DO NOT throw out the syrup after the cherries have been eaten; it is great in a soda, over ice-cream, or maybe a splash in your favorite adult beverage.