Saturday, July 30, 2011

Canning Cherries!

Thursday was the day to accomplish the task.  I enlisted Angelina because this may well be her 4-H Food Preservation project for the coming 4-H year.  As a 4-Her, I remember receiving a Grand on my cherries one year. 

Memories of my dad, and all of us kids, eating canned cherries are still quite vivid.  I have no idea if my family will like canned cherries as much as my dad and siblings did years ago, but I’m always looking for a good alternative to boxed cold cereal for our breakfasts. 

Each canned quart needs about 2 to 2.5 pounds of cherries, pints approximately half that amount.  We’ll use a raw pack with a light sugar syrup.  Interestingly, the Ball Canning Book recommends pricking each cherry if they are not pitted … I do NOT remember doing this when canning with my mom.  Rather than rely on my somewhat shady memories of canning, we’ll prick the cherries to prevent bursting or shrinking.

Light Sugar Syrup

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

5 1/2 cups water

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat at med-high until the sugar is dissolved.  Keep the sugar syrup heated until ready to pour over fruit.  Each batch yields 6 1/2 cups of syrup.  (I like to make a double batch right away.  If there is leftover it can be stored in the frig for a couple weeks until the next canning session.)



Raw Pack Processing: 

1. Wash cherries and drain.

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2. Prepare the light syrup, and keep it hot.

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3. Sterilize jars.  I have used the dishwasher to sterilize, but have also used the boiling water in the canner to accomplish the task.  The dishwasher will keep the jars hot, but you can also use the oven to keep jars hot. 

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4. Ladle 1/2 cup hot syrup into a sterilized, hot jar.

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5. Fill jar with cherries.  Shake the jar gently to pack the cherries and leave 1/2 inch headspace. 

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6. Ladle hot syrup over the cherries to cover.  Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims and cap. 


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7. Process pints and quarts for 25 minutes in a boiling water canner.  Since we live above sea level, our processing time is adjusted by adding 5 minutes.

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8. Let jars cool for 24 hours before storing.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Strawberry Scones


First saw these on Regan’s, then had to link  and link to find them here!  I planned to freeze them for next week, but I snuck a taste before they cooled completely.  Utterly light and delightful! 

My only issue is that the batter doesn’t make enough to completely fill my mini scone pan.  I’ll find a way to adjust and add about a quarter more to the dough (there are plenty of strawberries to accommodate) and fill the remaining 4 scone forms.  Either that or I need to make them all smaller!

My notes and changes are italicized.

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Strawberry Scones

Yields: 6 large scones or 12 mini scones


1 cup diced strawberries (or other fruit)

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons butter, cubed

2/3 cup half-and-half or cream or cold buttermilk*


1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. I used a mini scone pan.

If using larger fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle fruit with ½ tablespoon sugar; set aside. Be sure to dice the pieces small or they tend to fall out of the dough. They’ll still be plenty prominent in your finished scones.

Combine remaining sugar with flour, baking powder and salt. Add butter, using a pastry cutter or 2 knives to cut in butter (you may want to use your dingers to be sure butter is evenly mixed into flour). Stir in fruit; then add cream/half-and-half/buttermilk all at once. Use spatula to gently stir dough until it holds together. I chose to add the fruit last because I didn’t want it to break up when I was mixing the dough. I also chose to eliminate the kneading, as the dough was fully incorporated by mixing in the bowl.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to incorporate dry ingredients. Be gentle so you don’t break up the berries and don’t overwork the dough. Sprinkle dough with flour if it gets sticky.

Press the dough into a circle ¾ inch thick. If any berries peek out, push them into the dough. Cut circle into 6-8 wedges, then transfer wedges to the cookie sheet, leaving ½ inch of space between them.

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Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and bake 5-10 minutes more or until the tops are beginning to brown and spring back when you push them (This took another 15-20 minutes in my oven, but keep a careful watch and check every 5 minutes – you do not want dry scones!). (The sprinkling of sugar over the top for the last few minutes of baking creates a simple, sparkly topping.) My scones were done after a total baking time of 25 minutes.

* I used slightly more (maybe 1 Tablespoon) than 2/3 cup to hold the batter together.