The Home Stores

Canning Sweet or Sour Cherries - Whole


The definitive website on homesteading and self sufficiency.



Sweet or Sour Cherries - Whole

Quantity: An average of 17 1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A lug weighs 25 pounds and yields 8 to 12 quarts - an average of 2 1/2 pounds per quart.

Quality: Select bright, uniformly colored cherries that are mature (of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking).

Please read Using Pressure Canners and Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Stem and wash cherries. Remove pits if desired. If pitted, place cherries in water containing ascorbic acid to prevent stem-end discoloration. If canned unpitted, prick skins on opposite sides with a clean needle to prevent splitting. Cherries may be canned in water, apple juice, white-grape juice, or syrup. If syrup is desired, select and prepare preferred type as directed.

Hot pack - In a large saucepan add 1/2 cup water, juice, or syrup for each quart of drained fruit and bring to boil. Fill jars with cherries and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Raw pack - Add 1/2 cup hot water, juice, or syrup to each jar. Fill jars with drained cherries, shaking down gently as you fill. Add more hot liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.

Processing directions for canning cherries in a boiling-water, a dial, or a weighted-gauge canner are given in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3.

Table 1. Recommended Process Time for Sweet or Sour Cherries, Whole in boiling-water canner.
  Process at Altitudes of:
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 15 min 20 20 25
Quarts 20 25 30 35
Raw Pints or Quarts 25 30 35 40

Table 2. Process Times for Sweet or Sour Cherries, Whole in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 8 6 7 8 9
Quarts 10 6 7 8 9
Raw Pints or Quarts 10 6 7 8 9

Table 3. Process Times for Sweet or Sour Cherries, Whole in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 8 5 10
Quarts 10 5 10
Raw Pints or Quarts 10 5 10

Syrups for Use in Freezing Fruits

Type of Syrup Percent Syrup* Cups of Sugar** Cups of Water Yield of Syrup
in Cups
Very Light 10% 1/24 4 1/2 cups
Light 20% 14 4 3/4 cups
Medium 30%1 3/4 45 cups
Heavy 40% 2 3/44 5 1/3 cups
Very Heavy 50%4 46 cups

* Approximate

** In general, up to one-fourth of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. A larger proportion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-colored typed is selected.

To make the syrup, dissolve sugar in lukewarm water, mixing until the solution is clear. Chill syrup before using.

Use just enough cold syrup to cover the prepared fruit after it has been placed in the container (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of syrup per pint). To keep fruit under the syrup, place a small piece of crumpled parchment paper or other water-resistant wrapping material on top, and press fruit down into the syrup before sealing the container.



Canning Fruits and Fruit Products

  • Apple Juice
  • Apple Butter
  • Apple Butter, Reduced Sugar
  • Apples-Sliced
  • Applesauce
  • Apple Rings-Spiced
  • Apricots-Halved or Sliced
  • Berries-Whole
  • Berry Syrup
  • Cherries-Whole
  • Cherry (Sweet) Topping
  • Crabapples-Spiced
  • Crabapples-Spiced II
  • Cranberries
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Figs
  • Fruit Purees
  • Grape Juice
  • Grapes Whole
  • Grapefruit and Orange Sections
  • Lemon Curd, Canned
  • Mango Sauce
  • Mangoes, Green
  • Mayhaw Juice
  • Mayhaw Syrup
  • Mixed Fruit Cocktail
  • Nectarines-Halved or Sliced
  • Papaya
  • Peaches-Halved or Sliced
  • Peach Fruit Topping
  • Pears, Asian
  • Pears-Halved
  • Pie Fillings
  • Pineapple
  • Plums-Halved or Whole
  • Rhubarb-Stewed
  • Zucchini-Pineapple
  • These documents were adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009 &
    From "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.