Plump, lots of juice, and just darn good lookin', unlike the pressure canner. I put up 33 quarts in total. A couple of jars didn't seal, little buggers!
Cherries are very easy to can, great for a first time canner. I personally had never done them until this year, my Mom has always been here to volunteer while I was busy doing something else :) But she's in the middle of packing and hasn't made it up yet! I guess I'll save some of the fish or tomatoes or green beans or salsa or pickles or jam or jelly or carrots.... for when she gets here, hurry up Mom!! I hope I haven't missed anything, and if you get botulism and live please don't leave me a nasty comment (wink, wink).
Lots of sweet cherries, I prefer unpitted but you can pit them if you like. If you leave them unpitted you are supposed to poke each one with a needle to reduce splitting but I don't.
Lots of mason jars (Pints or quarts)
Sealing lids and bands
A thin syrup: 1 quart water to 2 cups sugar. Keep hot on the stove until ready to pour over your cherries. I tried 3 cups sugar and was way too sweet, but you can adjust according to your tastes; the sweeter the cherry, the less sugar needed.
Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse well. Place empty jars on a rack into a hot water canner (not a pressure canner, unless you are using your pressure canner as a HWB canner) and fill with cold water, about an inch past the jars. Bring up to a simmer and leave jars until ready to fill. Warm your lids. I place a small saucepan on the stove and bring it up to boil, shut it off and drop your lids in. Keep them hot until ready to use but a minimum of ten minutes or so. Wash all your cherries and discard stems and ugly ones. Empty the water from your jars into the sink, but leave the rest of the water in the canner, a jar lifter is a must here. Fill the jars with cherries, shaking down as you go, then add hot syrup, leave about an inch or so of headspace. With a hot rag or paper towel wipe the rims really well. Put on your lids and bands, a magnetic lid lifter is really handy for taking out the lids. Just "finger tight" with the bands, don't crank them on! Add a bit of cold water into your canner and place your jars back into the water, crank the heat up to boil. Placing cold/cool jars into screaming hot water will crack them, so that's why you want to add a bit of cool water first. Cover with a lid (again if you're using your pressure canner place the lid loosely, do not tighten it down) and begin timing at a rolling boil for 20 minutes if using quarts, 15 minutes if using pints. Without tilting, remove jars with your handy dandy jar lifter and place on a towel to cool. Wait 24 hours, remove bands, I dip them in hot water to get them off easier because of the "stickies." Check your seals! I then plunge them into hot soapy water and wash well. To keep the white off the jars, and if I remember, I add a bit of vinegar to the canner when processing. Leave the bands off and stock up your pantry cupboard :)