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How can I Use Morello Cherries?

Morello cherries offer a tart, rich flavor perfect for pies, jams, and sauces. Their vibrant hue and tangy taste elevate desserts and savory dishes alike. Try them in a clafoutis or as a glaze for meats. Curious about incorporating these versatile cherries into your next culinary creation? Discover the endless possibilities and let your taste buds dance with delight. What will you whip up?
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke

Morello cherries are a variety of sour cherry. They are deep burgundy, sometimes appearing nearly black in color. Most cherry varieties are sweeter, but Morello cherries are very tart; therefore, many people do not enjoy their strong taste when they are uncooked. Morello cherries are often used after being heated for both sweet and savory dishes.

One of the most basic ways you can use Morello cherries is for jam. The cherries need to have the stems and pits removed prior to heating. The prepared cherries are combined with pectin, a chemical that holds the fruit together and gives it a gel-like texture. Morello cherry jam can be kept in sealed glass jars and used as a spread for bread, biscuits, or scones.

Morello cherries are very tart.
Morello cherries are very tart.

The cherries also make a rich filling for cakes, tarts, and pies. Some people prefer Morello cherries because they have a stronger flavor than sweet cherries, which may lose some of their taste after being exposed to high temperatures. The cherries are heated and combined with sugar to give the cherries a thick syrup. In addition to being added to a dessert crust or as a filling, it can be served as a sauce that can be spooned atop pancakes, waffles, or other desserts.

Morello cherries may be used in jam.
Morello cherries may be used in jam.

These cherries can also be used to make a liqueur, a sweet alcoholic drink that can be served alone, used to flavor cocktails, or as a light topping for pound cake or ice cream. Morello cherry liqueur is a combination of vodka, sugar, and water, added along with an equal amount of cherries. The cherries steep in the vodka mixture for approximately three months to flavor it. The solid pieces are then filtered out and the liquid is transferred to a glass bottle. The liqueur tastes more flavorful the longer it sits, so it can be stored for an indefinite period of time with favorable results.

Morello cherries may be featured in pies.
Morello cherries may be featured in pies.

You can use these sour cherries in savory dishes as well. The cherries can be used to make a sauce to serve alongside duck, pork, or chicken. The fruit is combined with garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and chile peppers for an Asian flavor, while Russian cuisine uses a heated sour cherry and sugar mixture as a topping for roast veal.

If you have a large batch of fresh Morello cherries, you can freeze the extras to use for another time. Individual fruits need to be spread out on a large baking sheet or other flat surface and frozen separately or they will form a large block. Once the cherries are individually frozen, they can be added together to an airtight container. Frozen cherries tend to work best if you add them to recipes when they are still frozen, because thawed cherries will be too soft and wet.

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Discussion Comments


@donasmrs-- As far as I know, Morello is an American type of sour cherry, so it definitely grows in the US. My sister has a Morello cherry tree and she lives in Texas. I think that's USDA zone 8.

I can't get them fresh where I am either and I also buy mine jarred from the organic market. I highly recommend using Morello cherries in chocolate cake, like black forest cake. Morello cherries and chocolate are perfect together. In the summer, I also use this cherry as a topping on ice cream.

I want to experiment more with these cherries though. I want to make a sauce out of it for meat. The liquor sounds very tempting too, but I will need some help for that.


I make cherry cobbler with English Morello cherries. I buy it in a jar from the international market. It's already cooked, so I can use it directly. I wish I could get fresh Morello cherries but we never get any here. Are Morello cherries grown in the US? Or is it all imported?


Sour cherries make great jam and topping for cheesecake. It's sour but when it's simmered with sugar, it takes on a both sweet and sour taste. It's delicious.

Morello cherries are also great juiced and sweetened. They're full of vitamins. Sour cherry juice can be used by those who frequently experience diarrhea. My grandfather had an illness that caused frequent diarrhea. He would sip on sour cherry juice to treat it.

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    • Morello cherries are very tart.
      By: Jeppestown
      Morello cherries are very tart.
    • Morello cherries may be used in jam.
      By: Anna Kucherova
      Morello cherries may be used in jam.
    • Morello cherries may be featured in pies.
      By: evgenyb
      Morello cherries may be featured in pies.
    • Morello cherries may be used to flavor cocktails.
      By: Antonio
      Morello cherries may be used to flavor cocktails.
    • Morello cherries may be used to make a sauce to serve with duck.
      By: chamillew
      Morello cherries may be used to make a sauce to serve with duck.