Olde-Time Sour Cherry Pie Filling

This recipe is adapted from “Preserve the Harvest”  for multiple batches. It can be made into fresh pies or processed in a water bath/steam canner following instructions for shelf life.
Bound to be a hit at any summer picnic or holiday gathering, especially favored as a flavor from the past by some generations. Sour cherries are hard to find unless you pick your own!

(makes 4 quarts pie filling or 4 whole pies)

13 1/3 C fresh sour cherries

4 C Sugar

1 C plus 4 TBSP clearjel 

5 1/3 C cold water

4/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp almond extract

4 TBSP + 4 tsp lemon juice

*optional - approx 20 drops food coloring 
1. Wash and pit cherries
   *Tip- if you don’t have a cherry pitting tool a straw will work just as well
2. Bring 1 gal of water to boil large pot. Put all cherries in water and return to boiling for 1 minute. Drain but keep fruit hot.
3. In a large saucepan, mix sugar, Clearjel, and water
4. Add in spices and food coloring (optional). Stir on medium heat until filling thickens in consistency
5. Add lemon juice to mixture and bring to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly
6. Gently fold in cherries
7. Fill hot, sterilized jars with mixture immediately, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Tighten lids only enough to process
8. Using hot water bath or steam canner process quarts for 30 minutes. Store in a cool, dry place up to one year.


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