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What to Do with Sour Cherries

Battleview Orchards Sour Cherry Picking | Umami GirlEarlier this week we spent a fantastic morning with friends picking sour cherries at Battleview Orchards in Freehold, NJ. Their sour cherry trees are lovely, petite little creatures just perfect for kids to…get all up in. While I was picking in a leisurely fashion, chatting with my friend Rachel, the girls collected 13 pounds of fruit in under 45 minutes. As all fans of pick your own will know, the limiting factor in these expeditions is not the picking itself but the processing at home afterwards, which can be time consuming and, in the case of cherries, a little messy. I’m lucky to have a small, cute team of eager (and these days very capable) cooks and bakers on hand to help. Still, 13 pounds. Blogger that I am, before we’d even left the farm my brain was forming a question that doubles as a post title: What to Do with Sour Cherries (?!?!).

Now that you’re inside my blogger brain, I’ll mention too that this post is jumping the queue because if you need sour cherry recipes, I’m thinking you need them NOW. All right, carry on.
Battleview Orchards Sour Cherry Picking | Umami GirlSour cherries are seriously tart, but the littlest picker and I both really love eating them out of hand. So some small percentage of our haul went straight to our bellies. After that, pie. Obviously. Then some more creative endeavors: sour cherry corn muffins and, in a moment of necessity, sour cherry syrup to be subbed for grenadine in special-occasion Shirley Temples. The good news is that pitted sour cherries freeze beautifully. So not only is there no need for panic, but we’ll get to continue playing with these fleeting beauties in the weeks and months to come. 

Take a scroll through our picking and baking photos, or click here to fast forward to the recipe section.
Battleview Orchards Sour Cherry Picking | Umami GirlBattleview Orchards Sour Cherry Picking | Umami GirlBattleview Orchards Sour Cherry Picking | Umami GirlBattleview Orchards Sour Cherry Picking | Umami GirlBattleview Orchards Sour Cherry Picking | Umami Girl

Domenica Marchetti's Sour Cherry Pie | Umami Girl

Sour Cherry Corn Muffins | Umami Girl-2Sour Cherry Corn Muffins | Umami Girl

Sour Cherry Shirley Temple | Umami Girl

Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx

Sour Cherry Recipes

First and foremost, PIE. You can find Domenica Marchetti’s recipe for sour cherry pie here on the NPR website. For muffins and Shirley Temples, take a peek below.

Sour Cherry Corn Muffins

Serves 16     adjust servings

When we were brainstorming what to do with our sour cherry haul, both girls had the idea to fold some into corn muffins at the same time. We thought it must be fate. The cherries remain very tart in these muffins, which we thought was fantastic. If you're not a fan of all things sour, you could simmer the cherries first with 1/2 cup sugar and a little water, then strain and add the cooked cherries to the batter. Or use regular cherries.


  • 2 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


  • Preheat oven to 425°F with a rack in the center. Grease 16 two standard 12-muffin tins or line with paper liners.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cherries and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Measure the buttermilk into a 2-cup liquid measure, then crack in the eggs and beat to combine.
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir gently until there are no dry pockets.
  • Pour in the melted butter and stir until combined.
  • Drain any liquid from the cherries and stir cherries into batter.
  • Divide batter among 16 muffin cups. Bake 10-12 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • by

    Sour Cherry Shirley Temple

    Cook Time 10 min Total Time 0:10

    This recipe may have been enabled by nature's bounty, but truth be told it was inspired by the fact that our local liquor store is...not awesome. They don't carry grenadine, and they're not even sure what it is. Rather than spend our time wondering WTF, we opted to make our own version.


    • 1 cup pitted sour cherries
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • Ginger ale or lemon-lime soda


  • Combine cherries, sugar and water in a small pot and set over medium-high heat to boil. Reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has turned red and thickened slightly, 10-15 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove cherries. Chill syrup or let it cool on the counter.
  • Fill glasses with ice and pour in ginger ale or lemon-lime soda until glass is 3/4 full. Stir in 2 tablespoons sour cherry syrup (or more to taste). Deliver immediately into little hands, garnished with a fresh sour cherry or a maraschino cherry if you like.
  • by

    2 reviews


    Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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