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Canning 101 Recipe – Cherry Pie Filling

  • Author: Mavis Butterfield


Canning your own cherry pie filling is super easy. Plus, you will be so happy you did when the holidays roll around and most of the work to make a real homemade cherry pie is already done. This recipe makes 7 Quarts.



6 quarts fresh or thawed frozen cherries
7 cups sugar
13/4 cups Clear Jel **
9-1/3 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice

** There are two types of Clear Jel®, “instant” and “regular”. “Instant” does not require heat to thicken. The product will thicken once the liquid is added. “Regular”, on the other hand, must be heated. When canning pie fillings, be sure to use the ‘regular’ Clear Jel® product. Source


Bring a boiling-water canner, 3/4 full with water, to simmer. Wash jars {I’m using quart jars} and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Wash and sort cherries.  Drain well using a colander.  Next, pit the cherries.  This would be a gruesome task without a cherry pitter, so I highly recommend you pick on up if you don’t already have one.

Next, place the cherries in a large pot with at least 1 gallon of boiling water.  Boil in batches no bigger than 7 cups at a time for about 1 minute.  Start the 1 minute after water returns to a rolling boil after placing the cherries in the pot.  This is just to blanch the cherries to preserve their color and flavor during storage.

Drain the cherries and set aside.

Now you can make the liquid part of the  filling.  Mix the Clear Jel with the sugar and then add water.

Cook mixture of medium high heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken and bubble.  It will thicken really quickly, so watch it carefully.  {You can also thin it with water if it gets too thick.}

Once mixture has thickened, add lemon juice.  Stir. Take the pot off the heat and fold in the cherries.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands on. Place jars on elevated rack in a canner. Lower rack into canner. {Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.} Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 30 min.  Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After the jars have cooled, check the seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.