Use mature, bright, uniformly coloured cherries, ideal for eating fresh. For each 500 ml jar of canned cherries, you will need about 3/4 lb (0.4 kg) fresh cherries.


  • Sweet or sour cherries
  • Fruit-Fresh® Fruit Protector
  • Sugar syrup or unsweetened fruit juice (apple or white grape) or water


  • Place the required number of clean 500 ml or 1 L mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.

  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.

  • Prepare syrup in canner batch quantities—approximately 5 cups (1250 ml) for 7-500 ml jars; 10-1/2 cups (2625 ml) for 7- 1 L jars. For sweet cherries use a light or medium syrup; for sour cherries, a medium or heavy syrup. In large stainless steel saucepan, combine water and sugar for desired syrup type (see chart); bring to a boil. If using water or fruit juice, place juice or water in saucepan; bring to a boil.

    • Syrup for 7 – 1 L jars

    • Syrup Type Water Granulated sugar

    • Very light 10-1/2 cups (2625 ml) 1-1/4 cup (300 ml)

    • Light 9 cups (2250 ml) 2-1/4 cups (550 ml)

    • Medium 8-1/4 cups (2050 ml) 3-3/4 cups (925 ml)

    • Heavy 7-3/4 cups (1925 ml) 5-1/4 cups (1300 ml)

  • Stem, wash and drain cherries. Remove pits, if desired. If pitted, place in colour protection solution (4 tbsp (60 ml) Fruit-Fresh® Fruit Protector dissolved in 8 cups (2 L) water) to prevent stem end discolouration. If unpitted, prick skins on opposite sides with a clean needle to prevent splitting. Remove pitted cherries from color protection solution; drain well. Add cherries to boiling liquid; bring back to a boil.

  • RAW PACK – For sweet cherries, prepare a light or medium syrup; for sour cherries, a medium or heavy syrup. Bring syrup to a boil. Ladle 1/2 cup (125 ml) hot syrup into a hot jar. Fill with cherries, gently shaking to pack cherries without crushing.

  • Heat Process: 500 ml or 1 L jars – 25 min.

  • HOT PACK - Measure and place prepared cherries in a large saucepan. For each 1 L cherries, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup (125 to 175 ml) sugar. Stir and cook slowly until sugar dissolves and mixture is heated through. For unpitted cherries, add just enough water to prevent sticking. When packing jars, if insufficient juice has accumulated, add boiling water to cover cherries.

  • Heat Process: 500 ml jars – 15 min; 1 L jars – 20 min.

  • Pack hot cherries into a hot jar to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of top rim. Add hot liquid to cover cherries to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top rim (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more cherries and hot liquid. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining cherries and hot liquid.

  • When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – for the times indicated:

  • When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.

  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.