Making cherry pie filling is the one “absolute” every year when Michigan tart cherries come in. No matter how good or bad the picking is, it is a must to pick at least 10 pounds so we’ll have one pie to enjoy right away and a few jars of filling in the pantry for winter.
After making my standard Tart Cherry Pie Filling for the pantry, this year I decided to switch it up and try a few fruit combinations with tart cherries as the base.
The first combination I decided to try was a take off of one of the families favorite new jams from 2014 – Very Cherry Jam. This jam combined both sweet and tart cherries for a wonderfully sweet jam with just the right touch of tartness. I wasn’t sure how this would work in a pie filling, as I’d never had a pie made with sweet cherries. I have heard of cherry pies made exclusively with sweet cherries so I figured combining these with the tart could cushion the sweetness and make it a winner.
Very Cherry Pie Filling
7 pounds Fresh Pitted/Stemmed Tart Cherries
7 pounds Fresh Pitted/Stemmed Sweet Cherries
5 Cups Sugar
1 1/4 Cup Clear Jel mixed with 1 Cup Water
8 Cups Cherry Water/Juice
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
- Rinse and pit cherries. Blanch cherries in boiling water for one minute. Drain, reserving water/juice, and keep heated in covered stock pot.
- Combine Clear Jel slurry, lemon juice and sugar in stock pot with 8 cups of reserved cherry water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat until it thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat. Fold in drained cherries.
- Fill jars with filling, leaving a one-inch head space. Adjust lids and process in water bath for 25 minutes.
I canned five quarts and five pints of this pie filling and used the remaining to make a pie. We didn’t even wait for it to cool before cutting into it.
This pie was awesome! The combination of tart and sweet cherries and the different textures that both of them brought kept our mouths watering while we ate it. Definitely a keeper!
Tart cherries are probably my favorite fruit to can especially when combining them with other fruits. This recipe is only the beginning, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.