Conserva di Amarene

Sour Cherry Preserves

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Preparation info

  • Makes about

    3 pints

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

Sour cherry preserves are frequently used in Italian desserts, especially those from Rome southward. Though you may substitute good-quality commercial preserves (British and German brands sometimes use the term “Morello cherries”), this recipe produces a quick, easy batch of the preserves that keeps well in the refrigerator. Use the preserves as they are, or use only the cherries for desserts like Zeppole di San Giuseppe and Crostata di Visciole alla Romana.


  • 3 pounds sour cherries, fresh or individually quick-frozen
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick


Rinse, stem, and pit the cherries, if using fresh, and place in a nonreactive pan. Add the sugar and stir it in. Add the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring frequently. Skim off the froth that rises to the surface.

At the boil, remove the cherries to a bowl with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Insert a candy thermometer in the syrup and cook until the syrup reaches 220 degrees, continuing to skim froth as necessary.

Add the cherries and the juice that has accumulated with them to the pan and continue cooking until the syrup again reaches 220 degrees.

Pack the boiling conserva into 6 hot, sterilized half-pint mason jars, filling them to within ½ inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth and immerse the caps in boiling water. Place the caps on the jars with tongs, place the rings over the caps, and screw the rings down immediately. Cool the jars at room temperature, with plenty of space between them.

If you do not wish to keep the conserva a long time, cool it and store in plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Store the conserva in the refrigerator up to several months.

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