Easy Amaretto Sour Cherry Jam

Three jars of ruby red sour cherry jam on a wooden board.

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. 

A spoon full of ruby red sour cherry jam poised above sourdough toast.

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. 

A pair of hands holding bright red sour cherries

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.

Two slices of sourdough bread spread with ruby red sour cherry jam.

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.

A slice of sourdough bread spread with ruby red sour cherry jam.

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: 

Three jars of ruby red sour cherry jam on a wooden board.

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. 

A slice of sourdough bread spread with ruby red sour cherry jam. Jar of jam and loaf of bread in the background.

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.

Three jars of ruby red sour cherry jam on a wooden board.

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.

Three jars of ruby red sour cherry jam on a wooden board.

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!

Pinterest image of a spoon full of ruby red sour cherry jam poised above sourdough toast and toast already spread with jam.
Yield: 8-250 ml jars

Amaretto Sour Cherry Jam

Three jars of ruby red sour cherry jam on a wooden board.

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!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups sour cherries (when smashed equals 4 1/2 cups whole)
  • 1 box Certo Pectin Crystals (regular)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar

Instructions

  1. Wash and sterilize *9 250 ml jars and lids (as described here)
  2. Wash and clean cherries; carefully pit each one.
  3. Smash cherries in layers in a big pot.
  4. Add pectin and lemon and stir well.
  5. Turn stove to medium-high and add amaretto.
  6. 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.
  7. Remove from heat and continue stirring another 5 minutes.
  8. Carefully ladle into hot jars, wipe the rims, and cover with lids. Make sure rings are snug but not too tight.
  9. Allow to cool overnight. Check seals and refrigerate any lids that have not sealed.

Notes

Why *9 250 ml jars? I always prepare just one extra just in case the fruit is super watery.

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15 comments

  1. [email protected] Frau

    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!

    Reply

  2. Chelsey

    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!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you for stopping by Chelsey. Yes, that is one of my simple pleasures in life, bread and jam!

      Reply

  3. Nina

    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.

    Reply

  4. Marieke

    Ahh cherries and amaretto? YUM. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply

  5. Kelly Neil

    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!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s such a great combo and I really like knowing what is in my jam.

      Reply

  6. Susan Schafers

    I have frozen cherries with pits. I plan to pit them, but do I measure the amount including the juice?

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      hi Susan, yes! for sure you want that juice. Include it in your measurements!

      Reply

  7. kristine schneider

    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.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      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).

      Reply

  8. kristine schneider

    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?

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      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.

      Reply

  9. Lisa

    Great recipe. I made a batch a few weeks ago. Just got my hands on more sour cherries. Gonna make more tomorrow. 👍👍

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Lucky you! Thanks for letting me know you love the recipe.

      Reply

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