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Who doesn’t love pie? I can remember coming home from school and walking into the house filled with the delicious smell of pie baking.
Those were perfect days. It didn’t matter what had happened at school that day, it was all washed away by the amazing aroma wafting through the door to greet me.
I often wish that grown up problems could all be fixed by pie! I think that my cherry pie might actually come close. 🙂
At least it does for me. And the best cherry pies start with homemade cherry pie filling, of course. Homemade just tastes better somehow.
This recipe is processed in a waterbath canner. It’s from a Ball canning book I’ve had and used every year since the early 80s, so I know it was a “tested” recipe.
Here’s the thing about this recipe, it has cornstarch in it.
Cornstarch has fallen out of favor in canning circles lately, and a modified form of cornstarch called “clear jel” is the darling of the industry.
I personally have a problem with using stuff that is even more “modified” than cornstarch already is. And I have no idea if they are using GMO corn to make it.
So I don’t use it.
Some people will tell you that you can’t can anything with cornstarch in it. But since approved and tested recipes exist, that is obviously not true.
If you check the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation, you will find that cornstarch “may interfere with heat penetration” and they don’t recommend using it.
You can also find on their website that you shouldn’t use it, not because it’s unsafe, but because it “could” break down during processing and won’t look very appetizing in the jars.
Which, by the way, has never happened to anything I’ve canned in 40+ years of canning.
And then in other places on the very same website, there are recipes that use cornstarch.
So, I am perfectly OK with using cornstarch in a recipe that was previously published in a Ball canning book.
If you choose not to, no worries. I’ll give you directions for canning the cherries in syrup instead.
Then you can thicken it up when you are ready to. 🙂
So, without further discussion, here we go!
If you are new to waterbath canning or just need a refresher, learn all about it here.
Cherry Pie Filling
- 14 pounds sweet or sour cherries
- 3 cups sugar if using sweet cherries, 6 cups if using sour cherries
- 1 cup non-GMO cornstarch
- 2 tsp almond extract
This recipe gives me a little over 6 quarts, or 13 pints.
First, wash and stem the cherries.
Then you can pit them either by cutting them in half and removing the pit, or by using this amazing cherry pitter.
That’s the one I use and I highly recommend it. It will save you a ton of time.
Prepare your jars and lids so they are ready when the cherries are.
After pitting, put the cherries and 2 cups of the sugar in a large pot. Let this sit for about 15 minutes until the juices begin to flow.
Then attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Make sure the bulb is covered with juice.
Stirring frequently so nothing burns, bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once it starts to boil, continue stirring until the mixture reaches 212°F.
While that is heating up, in a small bowl combine the rest of the sugar and the cornstarch.
Mix it up well and make sure there are no lumps.
Then stir the sugar mixture into the boiling cherries.
Add the almond extract. Now make sure you stir continuously as the temperature comes back up to 212°F.
Remove from heat.
Ladle the hot filling into one hot jar at a time, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Make sure you get out any air bubbles with your bubble remover thingy.
With a clean damp cloth, wipe the rim of the jar to make sure there is nothing sticky on it. Seal the lid and attach the ring finger tight. Fill and close the remaining jars.
Place the jars in a waterbath canner and process for 15 minutes for pints or 20 minutes for quarts.
Remember to adjust processing time for your altitude.
See the altitude adjustment chart here.
After processing, remove the jars from the canner by lifting them straight up out of the water and place them on some towels out of drafts.
Let them sit undisturbed for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 24. Then check the seals.
If the seals are good, wipe off the jars, label and date, and put in your pantry.
Jars that aren’t sealed should be reheated and reprocessed with new lids, or put in the fridge and used within 2 weeks.
This is one of my favorite ways to use a pint of Homemade Cherry Pie Filling!
Other than pie, what would you use this cherry yumminess for?