Canning, Pickling, How To

Sour Cherry Jam with Lemon and Grand Marnier

Loreto September 5, 2017

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Sour Cherry Jam with Lemon and Grand Marnier, made with delicious Evans sour cherries picked from a friend’s garden just the other day. You can’t get any fresher and any more organic than that!

Song of the day: “Two High” by Moon Taxi.

Sour Cherry Jam

Sour Cherry Jam with lemon and Grand Marnier is a labor of our love for freshness and amazing ingredients. This is definitely a farm to table delicious condiment that can be used in so many ways, and at first taste will have you becoming a big fan! From the plump juicy Evans cherries to the wonderful syrup of lemon, Grand Marnier, and organic cane sugar. Hand picked and processed in our very own bustling kitchen.



Sour Cherry Jam with Lemon and Grand Marnier, a Farm to Table experience!

Sour cherries are a fruit that I have been introduced to very late in my life. I remember picking choke cherries, Saskatoon berries and the norm strawberries and raspberries, but I have to be honest this is the very first time picking these vibrant and soft silky berries that demand elegance and delicate maneuvers to take them from the branches of the very tree they grew on.

Years ago when I was in my teens okay many many years ago, lol, I would go with my parents and aunt and uncle. My auntie Maria and uncle Lou were berry whisperers. They had a way of knowing just where to find berries for the picking. I don’t know how they did it, but this I knew, our pails and I mean paailssssss would be full to the brim, and we would be enjoying Saskatoon pie, Saskatoon turnovers and anything Saskatoon dessert related for quite some time. I loved picking berries, I would pick a bush and one branch at a time take all the berries off till it was bare. I moved onto another and another, until my mom would be pulling me into the car. I get so focused, almost meditative when I am doing work like this.

Nicoletta just loves working with sour cherries. We were excited when our friends Margaret and Raymond from Kitchen Frau told us that their cherry tree was still full of ripe cherries and if we wanted we could pick some. Well, Nicoletta and I are not ones to pass up an opportunity to get some fresh organic produce and we always love visiting with Margaret and Raymond who have such a wonderful place in the country and are such lovely people.

I have to say I am really happy to see the weather holding in a summer pattern. Sunny skies and warm temperatures keeping smiles and joyous feelings in abundance. I don’t know why, but I am the high man when it comes to picking. Maybe it is because I love heights so much. I love that feeling of freedom that comes when you are high up and it feels like you are on top of the world.  I was on the ladder for our Saskatoon picking a few months ago and today I am on the ladder again tackling the upper branches of these loaded Evans sour cherry trees.

Today we also have some of our other good friends, Melanie and Tom from The Nomadic Wife picking with us. It is nice to have other fellow bloggers as friends, plenty of opportunity for inspiration and good eats. Look at these amazing plump jewels of pure juicy goodness, just begging to be picked and transformed. Well, we are definitely going to do that today! Nicoletta and I had such a wonderful day with our friends, sharing good laughs, an amazing lunch prepared by Margaret and Raymond, and going home with a substantial amount of sour cherries which will go to very good use.

sour cherry jam with lemon and Grand Marnier

One thing we knew for sure was that a part of these sour cherries was going to be used in making jam. Nicoletta is very good at making jams. I think she inherited it from her father Franco. He is a master jam maker. When we are in Rome we are always pillaging the cupboards of a few jars of his famous marmellata. When we were married in Italy my father in law made jams and we gave them to our guests as remembrances for the wedding! There was nothing but praises from people about those jams. Luckily for me, Nicoletta has that gene and we are enjoying her talent and this amazing tart yet sweet enough to subdue the tartness of this Sour Cherry Jam with Lemon and Grand Marnier.

I love that crystallization that is happening as we mix the cherries with some sugar, lemon, and Grand Marnier. Oh, I almost forgot, I wanted to share a great tip in how to pit the sour cherries thanks to Margaret. She told us to use a plastic straw. You just push it into the cherry and the stem part and it pushes the pit out the other end. When the straw gets dull just snip a bit off the end with some scissors and you are good to go again. I have to say what a brilliant and cost effective pitting tool. We were done pitting all those cherries in no time at all. Some of the cherries I left with the pit in so we could make some whiskeyed cherries and some in syrup.

sour cherry jam with lemon and Grand Marnier

This jam is so easy: all the ingredients go into a pot with the pitted sour cherries. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer and just stir occasionally and take the foam that forms on top. Forty minutes later and we take a hand blender and smoothen out the jam a bit leaving some chunks for an interesting textural experience.

With the jam ready and the jars sterilized in a 250° F oven, we are ready to jar this jam. The jam you want to put in the jars hot putting the lids on and tightened right away. This will seal the lid and ensure that the jam will stay preserved for quite some time. The best part no putting the jars in boiling water to seal, less work more time for fun!

Sour Cherry Jam

The first thing that strikes you as you scoop the jam from the jar is its consistency, not runny, not too thick, but just right, the kind that is easy to spread on some toast, or English muffin, or like we did on some lemon ricotta pancakes. The flavor is so vibrant, the Evans sour cherries giving that rich tart flavor, and the sugar comes in to take a bit of that away to bring balance to this sour cherry jam. In the back drop, the Grand Marnier lingers ever so subtly adding a nice twist to the mix, and the lemon keeps things on a fresh note.

sour cherry jam with lemon and Grand Marnier

Nicoletta and I are quite smitten with this Sour Cherry Jam with Lemon and Grand Marnier, I know her dad would be proud. A great adventure starting from the start of hand picking them, to the processing, and the finale bringing flavors together for a great end result. If you have some sour cherries and don’t know what to do with them, try this jam, it’s easy and so so flavorful, it will surely make you smile!

Have a wonderful day!

Song of the day: “Two High” by Moon Taxi.

sour cherry jam with lemon and Grand Marnier

Sour Cherry Jam with Lemon and Grand Marnier

  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 small jars 1x


  • 6 cups sour cherries, washed, dried and pitted
  • 2.5 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 lemon, the juice
  • 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier


  1. Wash jars and lids and place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 250° F. Let dry for about 1/2 hour.
  2. Stir together cherries and sugar in a large saucepan. Add lemon juice and Grand Marnier.
  3. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove the foam on top
  5. Cook for about 40 minutes.
  6. Loosely blend with a hand blender.
  7. Ladle jam into warm jars, wiping the rims and close tightly.
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Sour Cherry Jam

With the sour cherries in syrup (recipe coming soon) we made these lovely and delicious:

Sour Cherry Mini Galettes

Sour Cherry Mini Galettes

Making our recipes? Take a pic and tag us on Instagram: #sugarlovespices. You’re going to be in our gallery!

Disclosure: All links in our post are NOT affiliate links. They are only about products or places we normally purchase and like.

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  • Avatar
    Reply kitchenfrau September 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Your jam looks absolutely delectable, Nicoletta and Loreto! I LOVE the idea of a splash of Grand Marnier in there. A bit of orange with sour cherries is a winning combination. I’ve only ever made plain cherry jam, and I think your additions are brilliant. I am going to try a batch, too. Thanks for taking some of the harvest off our hands, but I think you should have taken at least a few more pailfuls! It was such fun to spend a cherry-picking afternoon together.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 5, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Margaret Thanks for having us and your straw technique for the pitting of the cherries was brilliant it worked so well and we were finished in no time at all. Love the idea of orange and the sour cherries. Our shelves are quite full I don’t know if we could do anymore, but you know what they say there could always be a possibility. I will check with Nicoletta, lol. Just wanted to say you and Raymond are very special people and we enjoy your company very much.
      Have a most wonderful week.

  • Avatar
    Reply kitchenfrau September 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Loreto, thank you for your kind words. Our friendship with you and Nicoletta has been one of the treasures of this wonderful food blogging life.

  • Avatar
    Reply diversivore September 6, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    I’m 100% with Nicoletta here – sour cherries are THE BEST. Having grown up in Alberta, I never really understood why more people didn’t grow them there. I can only assume that it’s because a lot of people just don’t know what to do with them. Thankfully, you guys have them covered! 😀
    The jam sounds absolutely fantastic, and I love the added flavours you bring to the equation. Great stuff – and keep on spreading (jam pun?) the good word about sour cherries!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 8, 2017 at 5:25 am

      Thanks Sean, always enjoy your comments. We will keep the sour cherry train going. Nicoetta has a few recipes coming up and having tasted them and can say wow! The addition of the lemon and Grand Marnier really added some wonderful flavor notes. We are hoping that we can get our hands on some more sour cherries and keep creating!
      Have a great weekend Sean!

  • Avatar
    Reply dishnthekitchen September 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Sour cherries are my absolute favourite thing to forage…unfortunately I didn’t have any luck finding and ‘in the wild’ this year, but I did find some at our local farmer’s market AND did you know you can buy them frozen, pre pitted at The Italian Centre Shop?! That means if you run out of Sour Cherry Jam this winter, you can make more!!
    Your preserving method for jams and Jellies is the same as mine Nicoletta. Interesting to note that when I mentioned this on the Alberta Food Preservation FB group, I got told we were all going to die! hahaha. I’ve been doing jam this way for years, like my mother and grandmother and we’re all still alive and kicking. They actually recommend a hot water bath for jam!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 8, 2017 at 5:19 am

      Hi Bernice, everyone has an opinion or process I guess. FGor us this method works, and we are so enjoying this jam. Nicoletta ais baking lots of great things using the jam and I had it the other morning on a croissant and it was super uber delicious. I say whatever floats your boat and our jam boat is floating, lol.
      Thankyou for commenting really appreciate it!

      • Avatar
        Reply dishnthekitchen September 8, 2017 at 10:26 am

        hahaha! you bet! Our jam is just fine too. Why make extra work for yourself by adding yet another process time?!

        • Loreto
          Reply Loreto September 8, 2017 at 4:17 pm

          So True, lol.
          All in the name of ease and grace!

  • Avatar
    Reply karrie @ Tasty Ever After September 8, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Those cherries are HUGE!!! Love that you have friends that own fruit trees like this and wish my friends did! Don’t know if I can find sour cherries here so may have to substitute regular ones because I need to make this jam!!! Hope you both have a great weekend 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Hi Karrie, we are so grateful for our friends, Their acreage is a plethora of organic ingredients that we are fortunate to get our hands on, like these sour cherries. They are so juicy and with the right amount of sugar, GrandMarnier and lemon, you have a balance of tart and sweet and a very delicious jam, which Nicoletta and I have been enjoying tremendously. Thank you for your always welcome comments.
      Have a grand weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Sean Mahan September 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I’ve never made cherry jam before, so I must say I’m super curious to try it. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 11, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Hi Sean
      I was not a real jam maker. Nicoletta’s dad was the master and got us hooked. This jam is so easy and with all the helpful hints we recieved made it a real pleasure to make. I hope you get to try it. We would love to hear how you made out!
      Have a great cooking week!

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