several hours
makes 5 8-oz jars
Amaretto cherry butter: it's cooked in a slow cooker (crockpot). It's considerably easier than pie. It is low in sugar. And it's fabulous. Lemon juice keeps the cherries from being too sweet and cough syrup-like; Amaretto rounds out and deepens the flavor.
  • 3 pounds dark sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1½ to 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur

Inspired by Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars, I decided to see if her method for slow cooker blueberry butter could be adapted to my abundance of dark sweet cherries. The answer is yes, it can, and it’s wonderful.

chop up the cherries

Chop the cherries, or to make things even easier, blitz them briefly in a food processor to cut them into small pieces. Pile them  into your slow cooker. I used a 3 quart slow cooker, and the cherries filled about 3/4 of the space, which is ideal: it’s best to fill or almost fill the pot. Put the lid on the pot, and set the cooker to LOW. Stir it after about an hour, replace the lid, and keep cooking.

tilt the lid and keep cooking

After 2 hours, prop the lid open so the accumulating steam can evaporate: I laid a wooden spoon across one side of the pot, and replaced the lid on the tilt. Continue cooking on LOW.

add sugar and prep jars

After 3 more hours (that’s about 5 hours in total) add the sugar and lemon juice. Whiz the cherries with an immersion blender to make a smooth purée, and raise the temperature of the slow cooker to HIGH. After half an hour, stir the cherries, and add Amaretto.

This would be a good time to prepare your jars, if you haven’t already. Put 5 8-oz jars in a pot, cover them with water, and bring the pot to a boil. Boil the jars for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the jars stand. Wash the lids in warm water and set aside (see new procedures for jar lids!) Have the bands handy. Put a saucer or small plate in your refrigerator to chill (this will be for testing doneness.) Have an extra small jar, or custard cup, clean and ready for any excess.

cook until thick enough

Cook until the fruit butter is the thickness you prefer. I like to dab a spoonful on a chilled saucer and let it rest a minute or two. If I can drag my finger through the blob, and the edges don’t fill in the clean streak, I call it done. Also see the wrinkle test.

seal in a boiling water bath

Ladle cherry butter into prepared jars, wipe rims, and apply lids and bands. Anything that won’t fit in your four jars can go into the clean custard cup – chill it in the fridge, this is perfect with yogurt or on toast for breakfast!

Process the jars in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.




2 Responses

  1. Can the amaretto be substituted with balsamic vinegar?

    • If you like the taste of balsamic with the cherries, I’d certainly try it. The Amaretto is in there to enhance the flavor, and not for any specific properties of cooking or setting the jam. If you do this, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

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