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!