A few years ago, we purchased a little sour cherry tree from some big box store because it was on clearance at the end of the garden season. That little cherry tree is now a huge, productive tree that we love!
It makes the most beautiful white flowers in the spring.
And then around July it is loaded with sour cherries, which are utterly delicious in things like jam, jelly, pie and syrup.
I used to have the boys chase the robins out of the tree very July but now we make so many I’m okay with sharing. We still can’t get them all picked.
Daryl likes to use a chopstick or metal straw to pit them.
We also have a fun little cherry pitter that the kids love to use.
(Here’s an affiliate link to an updated model of the cherry pitter we use.)
I like to just use my fingernails and pit them on my lap while I watch Netflix. 🙂
There are so many easy, delicious recipes to use sour cherries!
My favorite ways to use sour cherries are:
- Canned pie filling
- Fresh pies
- Cherry jam
- frozen for later use (freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then scoop into freezer bags so they’re not in a clump)
- Country wine (mixed with whatever else we have in the garden or that we’ve foraged, like rhubarb, elderberries and gooseberries)
- cherry pit syrup
- cherry pit liqueur
Here’s the super simple way to make cherry pit syrup:
Needed: cherry pits, sugar (optional: dash of almond extract)
- Put cherry pits in a jar.
- Add sugar in a 1:2 ratio (for instance, if you have one cup of cherries, add a 1/2 cup of sugar) and put a lid on the jar. I just eyeball this.
- Shake well.
- Leave for a few hours to a day or two, shaking every so often. The mixture will make its own gorgeous bright red syrup. Strain and add a dash of almond extract if you like. Store in the fridge (the high sugar quantity will preserve it for a pretty long time refrigerated). You can reuse the cherry pits again to make cherry pit liqueur at this point if you like.
Here’s the super simple way to make cherry pit liqueur:
Needed: cherry pits, vodka or liquor of choice
- Put cherry pits in a jar
- Cover with vodka (or brandy, Southern Comfort or other tasty liquor)
- Cover and put in a dark place. Shake every few days.
- Strain after a month or two. Add sugar to taste, if you like.
Cherry pit liqueur is delicious mixed with a soda like 7-up, added to lemonade for a fantastic hard pink lemonade, used in cocktails, or mixed with hard seltzer for a delicious keto cocktail (don’t add sugar to the liqueur if you want it keto). It has a gorgeous red color and make your cocktails pink.
Note: You can do this with choke cherries and other wild cherry pits as well.
I estimate that our sour cherry tree now produces around 8 gallons of organic sour cherries a summer now, from that tiny little discounted tree that cost us around $20. That amount of organic sour cherries would retail for about $700. 🍒 I call that a good investment!
Do you have a sour cherry tree? What are your favorite ways to use sour cherries?