Food Preservation – Cherries<br />Plan on making cherry juice and cherry leather on the same day to get the most out of your fruit. <br />Cherry Juice<br />10 lbs sweet cherries<br />4 quart jars<br />Remove stems and pits from cherries and place cherries in steamer basket of steam juicer. Steam for 1 hour. Put hot juice into jars. Wipe rims and place on lid and ring. Process for 25 minutes in water bath or steam canner. To make juice: add water and sweetener as desired. (1 part juice to 1 part water – or use less water if it tastes too diluted)<br />Cherry Leather<br />Use cherries from juicer above.<br />12 oz jar applesauce<br />1 tsp almond flavoring<br />After juicing is complete, run the cherry pulp through a food strainer/sauce maker. If cherry puree is too thin, you may need to simmer for a few hours until it thickens. Add applesauce and almond flavoring to cherry puree. Place 2 cups mixture onto each dehydrator tray (14 x 14 tray) and dry for about 8 hours. (135 F). Leather is done when it feel leather-like and is pliable. There should be not sticky spots in the center.<br />Remove the leather from the tray while it is still warm and roll it up. Cooled leather does not roll as easily. Cherry leather tends to be more sticky, so I like to place it on a sheet of wax paper before I roll it up to make it easier to unroll. <br />Dehydrated Cherries<br />Best cherries for drying are (Sweet – Bing, Lambert, Napoleon, royal ann) or (Sour – Early Richmond, Montmorency). <br />Wash; cut in half and remove pits. Dry at 165 F for 2-3 hours, then at 135 F until leathery, but slightly sticky. Use sweet cherries as a snack or like raisins in baked goods. Use sour varieties in baked goods, like pieces and cobblers. <br />Canned Sweet Cherries<br />Raw pack: Use a light syrup for sweet cherries ( 2 cups sugar to 4 cups water). <br /> Use a medium syrup for sour cherries (3 cups sugar to 4 cups water).<br />Wash, drain and stem berries. Pour about ½ cup syrup into jar. Fill jar with cherries. Shake jar to pack cherries closely without crushing, leaving ½ inch head space. If there is not enough syrup to cover cherries, add more syrup, leaving ½ inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims, place on lids and rings. Adjust caps. Process pints 15 minutes and quarts 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. <br />Bing Cherry Jam<br />4 cups pitted, chopped bing cherries<br />1 package powdered pectin<br />¼ cup lemon juice<br />1 tsp almond extract<br />½ tsp cinnamon<br />½ tsp cloves<br />4 ½ cups sugar<br />Combine all ingredients, except sugar, in a large sauce pot. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar; return to a rolling boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. pour hot into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath or steam canner. Yield: about 6 half pints. <br />
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