Amaretto Cherry Preserves
I’m a die-hard cherry fan. They are probably my favourite fruit of all time. And it’s partially because they arrive so briefly each summer and disappear for so long each year. I guess that’s true for all summer fruits, but cherries are always the fruit I look most forward to each year.
I’ve always loved fresh-picked cherries as is on a fruit platter, but I’ve really come to love cooking and preserving with cherries over the past few years. The first pie I ever baked was a cherry pie, and it pretty much snowballed from there. Then we moved into our current house 3 years ago and there was a huge, established cherry tree on the property. So we get about 5-10 lbs. of cherries of our own each year. (We would get about 5 times that much if we had a taller orchard ladder, but c’est la vie).
Nowadays I still make cherry pie, can my own cherry pie filling to use year-round, plus I freeze and dehydrate cherries, but this year I added another delicious cherry recipe to my arsenal: Amaretto cherry preserves.
I had a few pounds of cherries leftover after I baked a couple batches of Mini Cherry Pies last week. So I found a recipe for “Spirited Cherries” in my Ball Canning Book and decided to try it out. This was the first time I’ve used alcohol in my preserving. (Well, technically that’s not true. I’ve made extracts with vodka and one time I put some apricots in brandy when I was totally new to preserving, but all I did was put them in brandy in a jar without any sugar or other ingredients. They stayed edible, and the brandy has a nice apricot flavour. But hot-damn! Those apricots were like eating fire!
This time I wanted to follow a proper canning recipe that would allow me to preserve edible cherries that I would actually want to eat.
The book suggests several spirits and liqueurs you can use in this recipe, including rum, brandy, vodka or kirsch, but I opted for amaretto because of how well the flavour of this almond liqueur goes with sweetened cherries. Amaretto definitely brings out the flavour of cherries, and I don’t find it boozey at all when cooked into recipes.
Homemade Amaretto Cherry Preserves
For this recipe, I prepared my jars for the canner and then brought 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water to a boil, stirring until the sugar was dissolved. I added 7 cups of pitted sour cherries from our tree and boiled gently over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until heated thoroughly. Then I used a slotted spoon to pack the cherries into my jars, added 2 teaspoons of Disaronno amaretto liqueur to each jar and then covered with the leftover cherry juice, filling each jar to ½-inch headspace.
I ended up having some cherry juice leftover, so Ryan and I mixed up some cocktails for ourselves.
We mixed a shot of brandy and a splash of amaretto with half a cup of cherry juice topped with some soda water (we use our SodaStream all the time).
It was delish, and could definitely be enjoyed without the booze if you’re going for a homemade cherry soda or serving to kids. You can also add it to lemonade or limeade and it would taste divine.
Or you could can or refrigerate the juice concentrate for later the same way I did with this Rhubarb Juice Concentrate.
Either way, don’t toss out the juice! Got it? Good.
Back to my amaretto cherry preserves…
I processed those bad boys in my water bath canner for 10 minutes, let stand for five minutes and then pulled them out and heard the glorious “ping” sound of each lid popping and sealing. That sound truly is music to a homesteader’s ears!
And that’s it my friends. Super easy, and now they’re packed away in my pantry for a later date, when cherries aren’t so abundant around here anymore.
I imagine us sitting up on Christmas Eve, as the snow is falling and the cherry tree stands bare, eating amaretto cherries and drinking rum and eggnog and enjoying the fruits of our summer labour.
Then again, I highly doubt these cherries will last us that long;)
Canning tools I use and love:
- Canning Funnel
- Canning Scoop
- Jar Lifter
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (this recipe is adapted from this book)
- 7 cups washed, pitted sour cherries
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons amaretto liqueur per jar
- Prepare your jars and canner. Wash jars and bands with hot, soapy water and bring to a simmer in your water bath canner.
- Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.
- Add cherries and bring to a boil. Boil gently on medium-high heat for 5minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove hot jars and bands from canner. Use a slotted spoon to lift cherries out of the pot and pack them into hot jars, leaving a generous ½-inch headspace.
- Add 2 teaspoons of amaretto liqueur to each jar and cover with hot cherry juice to ½-inch headspace.
- Remove any air bubbles by running a butter knife along the inside "edge" of the jar. Adjust headspace if necessary. Wipe rims, put lids on top and screw bands in place.
- Place jars in canner with hot water covering at least 1" above the lids. Bring water in canner to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, remove the caner lid and let jars stand in the water for 5 minutes. Remove from canner and let cool completely before storing.
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