Sour cherry season

Love them so much even tho they are very time consuming to pit. I bought 8 pints yesterday. Some dark some bright red, the vendor said no dif. The big dif is yesterday 4 pints of the dark ones yielded about 2.5 lbs pitted, today the 4 pints of bright red ones yielded 3.2 lbs of pitted.

all packaged and frozen for winter pies!


My favorite fruit! There are subtle flavor differences between the dark ones (typically a Morello or Balaton variety) and the brighter ones (usually Montmorency) - and yes, the dark ones have bigger pits (usually). Enjoy your pies and treats!


I posted this on the canning thread yesterday.

My first sample jar of sour cherry liqueur. In the photo, the sugar has not yet dissolved.

About 1 c. of Montmorency sour cherries from our tree, ¾ c. sugar, 2 T. kirschwasser, and then the pint jar topped off with good vodka – a little more than ½ c.

Will ferment for about 6 weeks before straining.

Sour Cherry Liqueur


Have you ever made Rumtopf?


I haven’t, but this looks right up my alley - thanks so much for the link!

This will be a fun project to research and realize. I’m on it!


My mom’s friend would make several jars over the year, and give them as gifts at Xmas.

1 Like

I’ve made cherry bourbon quite often in the past (also as a Christmas gifts). I’m also a fan of brandied dried fruit, and try to make a batch of brandied fresh peaches annually. Last year I tried my hand at boozy fruit cake for the first time (winner - yay!).

What appealed to me immediately about the rumtopf you mentioned is both the perpetuation, and the possibility of using up bits and bobs of certain fruits as they become available in season. My mind races at the possibilities - I might have to keep a few versions going! :laughing:

1 Like

Rote Gruetze / RodGrod is another good way to use sour cherries and assorted berries.

Also English summer pudding.

1 Like

As a Manhattan addict, my most frequent use of cherries are Maraschinos. My fav is Tillen Farms, but are hard to find locally.

Any of you make your own?

1 Like

I’ve never made it, but there are several reliable resources with recipes. Some use sour cherries and some use sweet. If you end up making a batch, I would love to hear of your results.


I haven’t, but I was planning to try a batch with this year’s sour cherry harvest (Montmorencys are done for the year, but a great orchard near me grows a late-ripening black sour variety, so we’re planning to head up there next weekend to pick). I might try making cherry pit syrup with the pits at the same time. Will report back!



NYT wants my email address for access so they can go pound sand. The other two recipes both call for maraschino liqueur.

Never heard of it before, and have not seen it as an ingredient in any of the cherries I have bought, including Luxardo, which I found incredibly disappointing given their “highly recommended” status in some bars and websites (mushy, too sweet, no tang or brightness).

Tillen Farms is seriously opaque on the fruits and flavors they use (which is understandable).

So before oredering online a $30 dollar bottle of liqueur that may be unnecessary, I am hoping someone here may have given this a try.

1 Like

Looking forward to that.

NY Times also calls for a cup of maraschino liqueur - bring to a simmer, turn off heat and add a pint of pitted fresh sour cherries (or a 24 oz jar in light syrup, drained). Let them sit in the fridge two days before using and indefinitely thereafter.

Despite their name, Luxardo cherries are not intended to be what Americans think of as maraschino cherries. They are really more like Amarena cherries, a candied sour cherry made from the Marasca cherry, a variety that I believe is unique to Italy. I love Amarena cherries but I agree with you that the Luxardo brand is not great - my favorites are the Fabbri brand.


I am actually hoping to approximate the Amarena style rather than an American maraschino. I was researching this the other day and came across this link:

I’m thinking of trying Enzo’s fermentation technique listed in the comments - found the full Enzo story here:

Anyway, as far as I can tell by looking at crappy online photos of the Tillen Farms cherries, I would guess that they are made from sweet cherries, not sour. They look too large and too firm to be sour cherries, although they may use a firming agent like calcium chloride to help them keep their shape/snap (I don’t see it on their label but there may be a similar agent that can fall under the “natural flavors” or “vegetable and fruit concentrate” catchalls). The tang/brightness is probably from the lemon juice concentrate on their label - other brands use citric acid, which has the same effect.

You are definitely correct that maraschino liqueur is not going to get you a result similar to Tillen Farms - it’s just going to get you boozy cherries, which are delicious in their own right but not necessarily what you want in a Manhattan!

ETA: some good info on maraschino cherries and their production from Healthline, of all places!


That’s why you need to set up a dead mailbox. Use it to register for all the crap and never check it other than when a site send the confirming email. My dead mailbox has 1000s of unread email.

Getting back to the OP, my favorite dessert of all time is a sour cherry pie.

1 Like

There’s also a Greek sour cherry preserve/ spoon sweet/ glyko, with a thicker syrup and different texture than Amarena. I like both types.

This is a recipe for the homemade Greek version. I’ve only had the commercial jars imported from Greece.

Starting the rumtopf, thanks to @Phoenikia.

I wanted to get going while we still have seasonal sour cherries and strawberries, and started small in a mason jar. However the project was the perfect excuse to buy a couple of vintage ceramic rumtopf crocks on ebay. As soon as they arrive, I will transfer the brew to a larger vessel so I can add to it.

I’m going to try two versions this year, something along the lines of sour cherry-strawberry-peach-apricot and apple-pear-grape-walnut-cinnamon. I want to try and use as much of our home-grown fruits and berries as possible. I think this is the perfect project for backyard fruits, which tend to be imperfect, and often end up in bite-sized pieces when trimmed of any bad spots.

I went with Mount Gay rum which, in my neighborhood, is top shelf. I’m also thinking of using fermenting weights to keep the fruit under the surface.


Love Bajan rum.

1 Like

Can’t wait for sour cherries to arrive here! They sometimes sell pails of pitted ones at a local grocery, which I love!!


I saw the pails at Farm Boy last summer. I will post if I see any.

1 Like