Sweet Black Cherry Pie Filling: Printer Friendly Version

Sweet Black Cherry Pie Filling: Printer Friendly Version

From The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (see here for book details!)

Yield: about 8 pint (500 mL) or 4 quart (1 L) jars


  • 10 pounds frozen sweet black cherries, thawed in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup ClearJel (Or Thermaflo or Permaflo)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Position a colander over a large bowl. Pour partially thawed cherries into the colander, cover lightly with plastic wrap and leave on the counter top, stirring occasionally, until you have collected 7 cups of juice in the bowl.  Set aside the juice and the cherries.

Prepare the canner, jars and lids. For more information, see our basic canning how-to’s.

In a large stainless steel or enameled stockpot, whisk together the sugar, ClearJel and cinnamon. When it is evenly combined, whisk in 4 cups of the cherry juice*.  Place stockpot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Continue boiling until thickened. Whisk in the lemon juice and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and allow the mixture to boil hard for 1 minute. Add the reserved cherries all at once, stir in gently, and continue stirring constantly while returning to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.

*You can freeze or can the remaining juice or turn it into Boozy Cherry Molasses. The basic instructions remain the same, just add half as much sugar (by volume) and go forth with the directions from there.

Scoop the hot pie filling into the hot jars allowing 1-inch of headspace to remain between the pie filling and the rim of the jar.  Remove air bubbles from the filling by inserting a long, flexible spatula or chopstick into the jars. Wipe the jar rims and position the lids in place.  Screw the rings onto the jars to fingertip tight.

Place jars in a canner, cover with hot tap water by at least 1-inch, cover, and place covered canner over high-heat to bring the water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling hard, you can begin timing; both pints and quarts must be processed for 35 minutes.  After 35 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid and let the jars remain in the water for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove to a cooling rack or towel lined counter and allow to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours before removing rings, wiping jars clean and labeling. Processed and sealed pie filling can be stored in a cool, dark place for a year or so.