Cherry Pie Filling

Growing up we had a large, really old cherry tree and every year my sisters and I would climb the tree to pick as many cherries as we could. We would rush the cherries into my mother who made the best Cherry Pie ever. My mother's pie crust was hands down my favorite and I have never been able to duplicate it nor have I tasted one as good.

That old cherry tree we had growing up finally split down the middle and died and that was a sad day indeed.
I now have my own cherry tree and it was beautiful this year in full bloom.  I'm hoping the crop is plentiful and I'm able to pick lots of fresh cherries! Cherries are usually ripe in June in my area of Ohio. 

Legend has it that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree when he was very young.  I tend to believe the story and that he was truthful about it.  I have a similar tale about an axe, my son, a group of young boy scouts and cutting trees they shouldn't have. My son was very truthful about what happened and who all wielded the ax, including himself, but that's a story for another day. 

Fresh cherries are always best, including home picked or from a farm market but store purchased cherries will work too (even frozen).
Making Cherry Pie Filling is pretty easy and it's great to have jars of your own canned filling to use for pies, cobblers or desserts.

Cherries are a high acid food so can be safely water bath canned, which I love.
Traditionally, sour cherries are used for pie filling but you can use sweet cherries like bing which are great for dessert toppings.

Info on Clear Jel:
Cornstarch and flour are not considered safe for canning. Clear Jel is the only product recommended safe by The National Center for Home Food Preservation to use for canning pie filling.

Clear Jel is not the same as Sure Jel. Clear Jel is a modified cornstarch made to withstand the heat of canning. It stirs in and dissolves well with no clumping. Be sure to purchase the regular type Clear Jel, not instant.
Again the regular is made to withstand the high temperatures of canning. The instant is for thickening gravies and other non-canned food items.
Clear Jel can be found in bulk food or Amish type stores. Or just order on-line, I purchased mine from Barry Farm.

Wash cherries

Cherry Pie Filling

  • 6 quarts of Cherries (sour for pie filling or sweet for desserts)
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups Clear Jel
  • 9-1/3 cups water (or cherry juice)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon - optional
  • 2 teaspoon Almond extract – optional
  • ¼ teaspoon red food coloring - optional

How to Make:
Wash and pit cherries.
I purchased a couple cherry stoners (or pitters) for us to use and they work pretty well. They do occasionally rip the cherry so if perfectly round and whole cherries is the look you're after you may want to hand pit the cherries.

Cherry Stoner or Pitter

Place pitted cherries in boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Drain. Cover with lid to keep warm and set aside.
Combine sugar and Clear Jel in a large pan. Add water and cook over medium heat stirring constantly. You can also use pure cherry juice in place of the water for added flavor. Boil until it begins to thicken and bubble, then add the lemon juice. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add cinnamon and almond extract if desired. Add red food coloring if desired. (I did not add the food coloring to mine).

Cook sugar, Clear Jell and spices

Reduce heat and add cherries, stirring gently to mix.
Keep warm and fill hot jars with hot cherry pie filling leaving a 1-inch head space. Remove any air bubbles then wipe the rims of the jars.

Gently add cherries to sugar broth

Apply the two piece lids just until finger tip tight and then process for 30 minutes in a water bath canner.
Store any leftover or extra pie filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Remove jars from canner and allow to cool. Check that all are sealed after 24 hours. Lids should not flex up and down when pressed in the center. Do not tighten the lid band. Store in a dark, cool, dry pantry or storage area.


PRINT RECIPE (coming soon)

One Quart for One Pie

3 1/3 cups cherries
1 cup sugar
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Clear Jel
1 1/3 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
4 – 6 drops red food coloring (optional)

Follow directions above but do not water bath can, instead use in a pie or store in the refrigerator. 

Here is a photo of the cherry pie I made with my homemade Cherry Pie Filling.  Add a little vanilla ice cream and it's dessert heaven!


Other Posts:

Cherry Brandy

One Cup Cobbler (Fruit Cobbler)

Strawberry Pie Filling

Raspberry Freezer Jam


WWII Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

My daughter Alexis always wants a homemade chocolate cake for her birthday.  In the last couple years, she has bugged me to try a recipe she got from the mother of a past boyfriend.  Alexis lived in Kansas for a couple years with a young man she met in college. He was working at a dig site at the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe, Ohio, where Alexis was working as an intern in her job field.
The relationship with that young archeologist didn't work out but she did walk away with a great recipe from his mom for this Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. 

The Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake became really popular during War World II when some food staples such as eggs and butter were in shortage and housewives had to make do with what they had on hand.  

This is a rich, slightly dense but wonderfully moist chocolaty chocolate cake.  The chocolate lovers in your family will rave about this cake and ask for it again and again!


Savory Meat Pie

I think I found this recipe in an old Food Network Magazine and it has gotten rave reviews from my family every time I make it. 
In fact, my husband asked me to never ever share this recipe. He doesn't know that thousands of people have already seen it in that magazine, haha. 
This is an absolutely delicious savory beef, veggie and cheddar cheese pie. I use store-bought puff pastry or pie crust but you can use your favorite pie crust recipe.

This pie is similar or along the same lines as an Irish Potato and Beef Pie, a Cottage Pie or Shepard's Pie or an English Beef Pie. All usually employ meat and potatoes of some sort. This was a popular staple dish in medieval times and was eventually called "pyes" or "pies". The origin of this name "pie" comes from the type of meat commonly used as filling. Beef, lamb, and duck were employed, but a majority of the time it was the magpie, a bird that was the main ingredient.


Making a Patchwork Quilt

I have been sewing for years, various crafts, curtains, pillows, kids clothes and Halloween Costumes. I have even made small baby quilts but never a full size quilt.

Recently I did a Camper Remodel and wanted to use the leftover fabrics from reupholstering the cushions and sewing new curtains in the camper to make a camper quilt.

One of the easiest quilts to make and one of my favorites is a patchwork style quilt.
Patchwork is simply sewing pieces of fabric together to form a pattern or blocks that when all together form a quilt top. When the quilt top is finished, it's then quilted, meaning the top, the batting and the back cover are sewn together.
When deciding on what pattern or style of quilt to make as my first, I took a look at my quilt collection. Of all the quilts I have, patchwork is my favorite it seems and the one I have the most of. I gravitate towards it every time I find quilts for sale. It's the style of quilt I am currently using as a blanket on my bed.


Camper Remodel, Part 2

This is the second post on remodeling our little camper. The first post you can find here:
Camper Remodel, Part One.

We purchased our used little camper a couple years ago. We love to tent camp and will continue to do so but I always wanted a little camper. I am in love with small vintage campers and although our camper is not vintage it works great as our first. Our camper is 16 foot long but very cozy and just right for us and our three dachshunds.

As stated in my first camper remodel post the interior color scheme was light blues which is not my favorite interior color.


Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin

I asked for this wonderful recipe from our friends, David and Beth in 2010 after attending a dinner party they hosted. 
We just love this recipe! 
It's one of my favorites and a hit each time I serve it. 
This was the main course I served for our Women's Only Dinner Party and it's great for a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day or other occasions.
The recipe was created by Lori Welander and won the first place prize in McCormick 2002 Cook-Off Contest.
This is one of those great recipes that makes it appear as if you slaved in the kitchen, but it's really easy to put together. On the occasions I make this recipe, it makes me feel as if I am more than just an average cook......

A tenderloin is a lean, delicately flavored meat, is the most tender cut of pork and takes well to marinades.


Camper Remodel, Part One

We purchased our used little camper a couple years ago. My husband Bill and I love to tent camp, (and will continue to do so)  and have even tent camped around Lake Superior, while doing the Lake Superior Circle Tour.  
But I have always wanted a little camper. 
I like the idea of having all our things with us and room for our 3 Dachshunds. 
And I just love all the remodeled vintage campers I see, they're so romantic!
Our first camper is not vintage but we did get it at a fantastic price for being in like new condition. Little as in it's only 16 feet long.  But it packs everything we need into that 16 feet: stove, microwave (haven't even used that) a pretty big refrigerator, toilet, sink & shower, stereo, furnace and A/C.  That A/C part is one of the best features in August! 


Red Peppers and Sausage Pasta

Penne D'Allessandria
I found this recipe years and years ago in a magazine and still have the partial torn out page glued on a recipe index card! I have since made a Scrapbook Cookbook and added this recipe.

The recipe is relatively easy to make, is pretty much fool proof, looks great and tastes wonderful. I can almost guarantee that if you try it once you'll want to make it again.

Penne are cylinder shaped pasta and Allessandria is a city in Piedmont, Italy which was founded in 1168. 
So the name of the recipe Penne D'Allessandria, means a pasta from Allessandria.

Olive oil research is ongoing but so far there seems to be many health benefits.  And Olive oil is the cornerstone of Mediterranean diets, the world's longest living culture.


Easy Homemade Rice Heat or Cold Packs

This is one of the simplest sewing projects you will do, it's right up there with making pillowcases.
These packs can be heated in the microwave for a heat pack or placed in the freezer for a cold pack.
And they can be made into any size you want. 
 I use the size in these instructions for placing on a shoulder, knee or other similar area with an ache and pain. You can sew long thin ones to place around your neck or wrap around an ankle. Or make small ones to fix inside mittens for hand warmers!

These instructions include a rice heat pack removable cover.


Olive Cheesy Bread

Some people are olive lovers and some people are not. 
When my daughter Alexis was about 5 or 6, she had an obsession with black olives.  She liked to put one black olive on each finger and then eat them.  Concerned about the ingredients, I wrote to the Heinz Company who replied back with a letter, enclosed the ingredient list and a coupon for a free jar of olives. 
I recently looked up the nutritional valve of olives (because now there is Google) and it turns out olives are pretty healthy!

Not to say this recipe is healthy, this Cheesy Bread is not what I would exactly call healthy but it does have olives, which are good for you and it's Oh My Gosh delicious.