This recipe is just what you need to make beautiful ruby coloured Sour Cherry Jam. Made with sour cherries and amaretto, it’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart.
Sour Cherry season is short and fleeting. It’s over in the blink of an eye. Make the most of this prized tart stone fruit by preserving it in jams and jellies. They also make the perfect cherry pie when paired with amaretto and sweet Bing cherries.
Pucker Up It’s Sour Cherry Season
The middle of August means so many things are happening at once. Garden produce is at it’s peak, berries are ripe for the picking, and I’m busy preserving as much of the Summery goodness as I can.
Sour Cherry season is short and sweet (or should I say tart?) and this year the bushes are loaded with tiny ruby globes.
What is the difference between Sweet Cherries and Sour Cherries?
Sadly, our yard doesn’t have any sour cherry trees and I don’t know anyone with fruit to spare. Luckily, I always seem to find them at local markets during their short season. They’re not cheap but are so worth grabbing whenever you can find them.
Look for small, bright red fruit with soft flesh. Unlike sweet cherries, sour cherries are quite tart and aren’t enjoyable when eaten raw.
Growing Sour Cherries on the Prairies
There are several varieties of sour cherries (or tart cherries) that survive the harsh conditions of the Canadian prairies, namely the long cold winters. The bushes are usually short, making them easy to harvest.
Classic sour cherry cultivars are Morello and Montmorency with Nanking and Evans varietals the most commonly grown in Canada.
The University of Saskatchewan has had a dwarf sour cherry breeding program since the 1940’s. Carmine, Crimson, Cupid, Juliet, Romeo, and Valentine are all super hardy varieties that can withstand long prairie winters.
What Can I Do With Too Many Cherries?
If you are one of the lucky ones with an abundant sour cherry harvest, have no fear! There are many ways to use up all those cherries. Here are a few ideas:
- Sour Cherry Jelly
- Amaretto Cherry Pie
- Evan’s Cherry Ginger Oat Crumble Bars
- Amarene Sciroppate (Sour Cherries in Syrup)
- No Bake Evans Sour Cherry Coconut Bars
Getting Ready to Make Sour Cherry Jam
It’s hard to believe but this recipe tastes more complicated than it really is. The most labour intensive part is pitting all those tiny cherries.
I use a regular cherry pitter and it works just fine. Adding the the amaretto really adds a depth of flavour of this jam.
However, since the amaretto is added at the beginning, all of the alcohol is boiled out while the jam cooks. That means there’s no boozy taste at all.
Sterilizing Jam Making Equipment
It is very important to carefully inspect, wash, and sterilize all the equipment you’ll be using to make jam. First, inspect, wash and set the jars upside down in a tray of water in the oven, set at 225°F.
The washed lids and rings should be placed in a pot of boiling water along with the tongs and measuring cup. Sterilize everything that will touch the jelly or jars during the process of filling the jars in this manner for ten minutes.
Making the Sour Cherry Jam
Once all the equipment has been sterilized. Keep it hot while you make the jam. Place the washed and pitted cherries in a large pot and crush them slightly with a potato masher. Add pectin and lemon and stir well.Turn stove to medium-high and add amaretto.
Stir the as mixture heats up. Once it comes to a rolling boil (lots of bubbles), add sugar all at once then allow to return to a rolling boil. Boil for one more minute.
Remove from heat and continue stirring another 5 minutes. Next, carefully ladle the jam into hot jars, wipe the rims, and cover with lids. Make sure rings are snug but not too tight.
Allow to cool overnight. Check seals and refrigerate any lids that have not sealed.
How Long Does Amaretto Sour Cherry Jam Last?
Store the sealed jars in a dark and cool spot such as a basement. Let the jars sit for a few weeks before eating. They are good stored in this way for a year and up to two years.
If the jam becomes cloudy, fizzy, or grows mold; throw them out. As the saying goes; when it doubt, throw it out!
Amaretto Sour Cherry Jam
This recipe is just what you need to make a beautiful ruby coloured Sour Cherry Jam. Made with sour cherries and amaretto, it's the perfect combination of sweet and tart!
- 5 1/2 cups pitted sour cherries (when smashed equals 4 1/2 cups)
- 1 box Certo Pectin Crystals (regular)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Amaretto
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- Wash and sterilize *9 250 ml jars and lids (as described here)
- Wash and clean cherries; carefully pit each one.
- Smash cherries in layers in a big pot.
- Add pectin and lemon and stir well.
- Turn stove to medium-high and add amaretto.
- Stir as mixture heats up. Once it comes to a rolling boil (lots of bubbles), add sugar all at once then allow to return to a rolling boil. Boil for one more minute.
- Remove from heat and continue stirring another 5 minutes.
- Carefully ladle into hot jars, wipe the rims, and cover with lids. Make sure rings are snug but not too tight.
- Allow to cool overnight. Check seals and refrigerate any lids that have not sealed.
Why *9 250 ml jars? I always prepare just one extra just in case the fruit is super watery.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 67Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 16gProtein: 0g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.
I followed this recipe to the letter and it did not set. So I reboiled the jam, adding 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice per quart of jam. I am sad to say I had made two (separate) batches so that was a lot of jars to clean and lids to replace. *sigh. The jam still is not setting up really well. It is better than it was, but it was a ton of work to pit those little guys and then to have the jam not turn out was very disappointing to say the least. It tastes good but is very runny.
Sorry to hear that! Are you saying you added another two tablespoons of lemon juice for a total of four tablespoons?
Did you boil it until the plate test worked? Doing a plate test is really important because that’s how you know your jam will set.
I just made this recipe a couple days ago, using Evan’s sour cherries off my backyard tree in Palmer, Alaska. I couldn’t find Certo crystals, so I substituted Sure Gel crystals and the jam only partially set up. There are more cherries to pick and I have a few bags in the freezer, as well. On the next batch, I’m going to experiment with Certo liquid to see if I can get the jam thicker. I’m really thrilled with the flavor of this jam!!!!
It really is quite delicious. Please do let me know how the second batch is. Unfortunately I have never used Sure Gel so I can’t offer any help on getting it to set other than to reboil.
I’m confused about the amount. Is it 4.5 cups smashed or 5.5 cups smashed that I should use in this recipe?
Strange. I’m not sure why I added that ‘whole’ to the quantity of smashed cherries. It should read 5 1/2 cups whole (4 1/2 cups when smashed).
Great recipe. I made a batch a few weeks ago. Just got my hands on more sour cherries. Gonna make more tomorrow. 👍👍
Lucky you! Thanks for letting me know you love the recipe.
Can the recipe be doubled, or even tripled. with it still setting, or safer to make them one at a time? Have you ever tried this, and any special instructions for this?
In general, I wouldn’t recommend doubling or tripling any jam or jelly recipe. Pickles and other canned fruit, sure but not jams and jellies. I always just start a new batch.
Hi, I don’t see in the recipe where it says to add the sugar, and I am new to canning, so not sure when this is done. The recipe sounds wonderful, and would like to make it. Thank you.
hi Kristine! Sorry about that…I’ve updated the recipe. The sugar should be added all at once when the jam comes to a rolling boil (6).
I have frozen cherries with pits. I plan to pit them, but do I measure the amount including the juice?
hi Susan, yes! for sure you want that juice. Include it in your measurements!
Oh I love homemade jam so much! I don’t think I’ve ever had sour cherries but I can’t think of a better match than Amaretto. Sounds amazing!
It’s such a great combo and I really like knowing what is in my jam.
Ahh cherries and amaretto? YUM. Thank you for the recipe!
I am preserving so much at the moment now too! I have never heard of sour cherries before and will definately keep an eye out for them now. This jam looks fantastic and I love the addition of Amaretto.
This jam looks so tasty! I wish I had some with a slice of that toasted bread right now. Definitely need to try this recipe!!
Thank you for stopping by Chelsey. Yes, that is one of my simple pleasures in life, bread and jam!
This looks fantastic! I love making sour cherry jam, too. Your use of amaretto is genius, since those cherries often taste slightly of almond when the pits are included. I want a bite of your jam on toast right now!