Back at the end of June, I got a shipment of sweet cherries from the folks at the Northwest Cherry Growers. They sent them as part of their annual Canbassador program (here’s my round-up from last year). I made a number of things from those cherries, including this Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam, some Cherry Chutney, and a batch of Cherry Kompot.
When all that was complete, I still had about five pounds of cherries left. I washed them well, took off the stems, and heaped them in a pot with a cup of water. I brought it to a simmer and cooked the cherries just until they were soft enough that I could pinch out the pits. Once all the pits were out, I poured the cherry pulp into a slow cooker, zapped it with an immersion blender and cooked it down until it had reduced by about half. I zapped it again, added a little sugar to taste (enough for balance, but not so much that it was cloying).
Processed in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes, this collection of five jars will be used this winter in bar cookies and on toast spread thickly with ricotta. It recalls the dense cherry preserves that my mom’s Auntie Tunkel used to make by slow roasting cherries in her old-fashioned oven (a trick she learned from her mother during her childhood in Ukraine). It feels connected to the past and is deeply delicious.
Sweet Cherry Butter
- 5 pounds sweet cherries pitted
- 1-2 cups granulated sugar
- Pit cherries with either a hand pitter, or using the simmer method described above.
- Once pitted, puree cherries smooth. Place the puree in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 16 hours, until the cherry puree has reduced by half and is quite thick.
- Puree the mixture again with an immersion blender until very smooth. Add sugar to taste and stir until it is completely distributed and dissolved.
- Funnel the finished butter into half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
I am pinning this for next year. It made me remember(too late) your recipe for sweet cherry ketchup. Do you think I could use frozen cherries to make that ketchup? I really want to make something for my sister who loves cherries and it having a particularly hard time lately.
You could certainly use frozen cherries for the ketchup.
Oh my gosh, Marisa:
The Ukrainian cherry thing! My grandmother (now 97) used to fill perogies with sweet cherries in the summer time, and now I have to ask her if she slow-roasted them. I make a mean savoury perogy, but have yet to duplicate the wonders of her sweet ones…..and a pellet grill/smoker does amazing things with slow-roasting fruit.
Can I use dried cherries? I was given four huge bags of dried cherries and don’t know what to do with them. I want to make the cherry butter for the holidays and send them to my family and friends. Any tips on how to use these dried cherries to make this recipe?
Unfortunately, this recipe will not work with dried cherries.
I’m currently sitting here reducing the cherry sugar puree via stove top. I’m so excited to have found this recipe after all the apple butter I made last year. Smells delightful!
Can I use frozen cherries to make cherry butter? I only stumbled on this recipe now looking for something to make for my dad who loves all things cherry
Yes! That should work just fine.
Hi Marissa! I found Rainer cherries on sale for much less than Bing cherries…can I use Rainer cherries in this recipe and your cherry ketchup recipe? Just wondering if they have the same acidity as bing cherries. Thank you so much!
Rainier cherries are also high acid fruits, but I’m not sure how they would behave in those recipes. You can certainly try them, though.
Hi Marissa !
I just picked up 10lbs of pitted sour cherries.
Is it possible to use sour cherries and add a little more sugar ??
I’ve not tried it, but that’s what I would do if I wanted to make sour cherry butter!
Looks like we aren’t propping the lid open with a wooden spoon on this one – is that right?
I didn’t specify that technique in this recipe, but that’s always a good method to use if you want to help the fruit cook down.