It’s cherry season! Or at least it’s just beginning here in Michigan. The cherries on my trees are just starting to blush and we can’t wait to bring them in and enjoy them. But there also seems to be a bumper crop of cherries on the market and a local market had them for $2.99/lb, we couldn’t not get some to make some delicious recipes and start filling our shelves.
For the longest time, I’ve wanted to try Cherry Bounce, a cherry infused alcohol that a friend makes so that was the first order of business. It’s really a simple recipe and one that we’ll be making again. But next up, we really wanted some homemade maraschino cherries – for desserts or snacking on that aren’t full of crud and chemicals. Finding one that not only we would be sure would be gluten free but also alcohol free (and kid friendly) was key – and we came up with this great recipe that is so easy you’ll love making it.
One thing to keep in mind, this recipe can be made and used immediately if you want. But we did get approximately 1 lb of cherries in each pint sized jar we did. If you are making it at home, just have a jar ready for reach pound of cherries you get and you’ll be ready to go!
Is the canning portion necessary? Not unless you want them to be shelf stable. If you choose not to can them, they’ll last in the fridge for a couple of weeks and we suggest letting them cool completely before enjoying. Their flavor will get better the longer you allow them meld together, so if possible – don’t use them until the next day! Canning allows you to have them for months if not years later if you don’t plan on using them right away.
- 5 lbs of Cherries
- 3 cups of sugar
- 3 cups of water
- 1 tbs Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbs Almond Extract
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- Wash, pit, and remove the stems from all of your cherries. Discard any that are bad in the process.
- Fill each of your prepared jars to the bottom rim with your pitted cherries
- In a medium pan, combine the water and the sugar together over medium heat. Stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved and there is a clear syrup
- Carefully add in your other ingredients stirring well until combined.
- Using a funnel and ladle, pour the hot syrup over your prepared cherries.
- Clean the rim of the jar and place your flat lid and band on.
- Process in a water bath or allow to cool before placing them in your refrigerator.
- Place 5 clean 16 oz mason jars on a rack in your stock pot. Fill the jars and stock pot with cool water until it completely covers the top of the jars. Cover and put on medium heat. Simmer but do not boil.
- Prepare 5 lid sets, put the bands aside and put the flat lids in a small sauce pan and put on medium heat. Do not boil, but keep warm through the whole process.
- Remove the jars from the warm bath. Tip them as you pull them out and pour the water back into the pan. Place them on a towel on the counter with the opening up. Do not dry them! Just put them down and put the funnel in.
- Pack each jar with pitted cherries until there is about 1/4 inch of space in the top, pour in the syrup mixture you created. Once all jars are full, take a plastic or wooden utensil and move it around to get extra air bubbles out.
- Take the small magnet tool and remove flat lids from their hot bath. Place over top of each jar. By hand screw on the collars, but not too tight! Remember some air still needs to get out of each jar.
- Place the jars back into the hot stock pot and replace the lid. Turn your temperature up to high. When it starts to do a rolling boil, start a timer for 10 minutes.
- After the jars have processed for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid to the pan. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove all the jars without tipping them and place them back on the towel. Remember – don’t towel them off!