Preheat oven to 325°F Grease the insides of cans well.
Combine chopped cherries and baking soda in a bowl. Pour in boiling water and let stand 5 minutes.
Combine sugar, shortening and eggs in a large bowl. Using a mixer, beat at medium-high speed until creamy. Add salt, molasses, the cherry mixture and flour and stir until well blended. Add nuts and raisins; mix well.
Fill cans about two-thirds full with batter. Bake about 1 hour, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in cans on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove bread from can and place on wire rack to cook completely.