I first wanted to take the time to thank everyone that has been patient with us as we delve into the online blogging community. We are working at improving our posts, photos, and even started video taping us in hopes that it helps our audience. [Fair warning – we have never made a video before so constructive criticism is always welcome ] Now, diving right in –
Homemade Cherry Pie Filling
[Yield: (7) Quarts]
Quick note – a single pie generally takes 1 quart jar of filling (if not more) depending on your desired filling to crust ratio.
Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)
- 7 quart jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings)
- 1 water bath
- 1 funnel
- 1 jar lifter
- 1 strainer
- 1 stainless steel ladle
- 1 large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven)
- 1 large pot & lid/towel (to store boiled cherries in)
- 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)
- (Optional) 1 cherry pitting device [We pitted all cherries by hand but its strongly recommended having some sort of pitting device such as Cherry Pitter with Stone Catcher Container unless you have the hour+ to kill.]
- 6 qts peeled and sliced apples of your choice (roughly 12 apples)
- 5 1/2 cups granulated sugar
[Hint: for a richer flavor, swap some or all of the granulated for brown sugar]
- 1 1/2 cups Cook Type ClearJel
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
[Hint: feel free to sub or add any dried spices of your liking!]
- 2 1/2 cups cold water
- 5 cups un-sweet apple juice
- 3/4 cups bottled lemon juice
- Inspect each of your jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
- Place wire rack into bottom of water bath with ‘arms’ up to allow jars to be placed.
- Fill your water bath with enough water to cover each of the jars with 2-3″ of liquid and place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil).
- Remove the stem and de-pit all 6 quarts of cherries and immediately place in cold water. (Cherries are placed in the cold water to maintain color. The cold water may have lemon juice or ascorbic acid added to aid in this process.)
- Separate cherries into 6 cup segments and put in a large pot of boiling water.
- Once cherries return to boiling, boil hard for 1 minute then remove from boiling water and place aside in pot and cover.
- Continue this process until all cherries have been boiled.
- Dump boiling water (or, if you’re brave you may even attempt Poor Man’s Cherry Juice by adding sugar and saving for later) and return to stove top.
- Add in sugar, clear jel, water, and any desired spices.
- Mix together over medium-high heat until thick and begins to bubble.
- Pour in lemon juice and immediately mix in drained cherries.
- Remove empty jars from water bath by lifting the wire rack and setting the arms on the rim of the water bath. Then, using jar lifter empty and remove the jar from the water.
- Place funnel in jar and carefully ladle hot cherry pie filling into each jar keeping a 1in head space. [Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
- Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten. [Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel.]
- Once finger tightened, return to warm water bath to avoid thermal shock. [Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.] Lower wire rack once full.
- Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
- Once boiling, set timer for 30 minutes [refer to your elevations processing time for correct info].
- After 30 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
- Once again, lifting wire rack and placing arms on canner rim, use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
- Wait 24 hours before touching the jars. After 24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed). Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.Note: Due to the addition of Clear Jel, this pie filling is ready to use. Just add to a crust, bake, and enjoy! Another method of making pie fillings is without the addition of clear jel. This will modify the process to add thickening agents (cornstarch) after canning and immediately before use.