Carmine Jewel Cherry: A True Jewel of a Fruit Tree

Carmine Jewel Cherries

I was laying in my hammock earlier this week breathing in the sweet scent of cherry blossoms from my Carmine Jewel cherry tree. Enjoying the warm afternoon in my hammock is one of the primary joys of creating a private oasis in the city.

I planted my cherry tree two years ago, and I have visions of it growing to be it’s full height of 3 meters and shading the hammock with it’s long waving branches. This cultivar can be grown as a bush – it’ll grow to about 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide – or it can be trimmed to a more tree-like form. Mine was carefully pruned by the growers (Bylands in British Columbia) to create an appealing shape that will some day provide not only a beautiful display of white springtime blossoms, but a productive and attractive shade tree.

The Carmine Jewel (Prunus cerasus ‘SK Carmine Jewel’) was developed at the University of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada. A cross between Mongolian Cherry and the Tart Cherry, it’s hardy to zone 2a and has done well for its two winters here with me in Edmonton. It’s self-fertile, so I don’t have to worry about it being pollinated by a like-minded cherry elsewhere in the neighbourhood.

It will have tart cherries by mid-July which will mellow into a smoother tasting fruit by mid to late August. I prefer to pick them later on for eating fresh, but earlier for making jellies. I’ve heard they make great pies.


Carmine Jewel Cherry Jelly

Recipe:   Carmine Jewel Cherry Jelly

6 cups cherries

1 cup water

1 pkg powdered pectin

4 1/2 cups sugar

Wash and stem cherries and place in saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and simmer 15-20 minutes until soft. Mash fruit to press out juice and strain. Combine juice (approximately 3 1/2 cups) with pectin crystals. Heat on high and stir until boiling. Stir in sugar and bring to a vigorous boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour in sterilized jars and seal.

Carmine Cherry Blossoms

Carmine Jewel in Blossom

23 thoughts on “Carmine Jewel Cherry: A True Jewel of a Fruit Tree

  1. Thanks for sharing this! This is the first year my Carmine Jewel has really produced. I will keep in mind about leaving them until August for sweeter cherries or picking earlier for jam/jelly!

    • The tree was about three years old when Ibought it at the nursery. It prodeced a bucket of fruit that year and about the same each year since (2 further seasons). It smells so wonderful in the spring…I can’t wait until it flowers this year.

  2. I replied 2 years ago thanking you for your info on this shrub. I have now picked over 6 lbs of fruit off our bush, which has grown to 10′ tall and 10′ wide (netting it is a nightmare but the robins enjoy it too much not to net it). I have only picked about 1/2 the fruit as there is much left that is not ripe. I intend to make jelly with this picking but will try to keep some for later on to see how they sweeten with age. Our season is exceptionally early this year with our mild Manitoba winter and a near perfect growing season so we are ahead of the normal time for these cherries to ripen. I hope your tree continues to bear well.

    • Connie says:

      Mine is about 6 years old and I have LOTS of suckers. Very annoying… but some of them I let grow until they are nice sized and flowering. I then dig them up and give them to friends and family. One of the suckers we transplanted last year in another part of our property and it will probably have fruit in a year or two.

  3. Yes, this year seem to be the worst! It is quite a dry year and I have heavy clay soil. Have a nice quanity of fruit this year so I ma happy with that. Made your jelly recipe today, it is great!

      • Connie says:

        I remember the first year it got the initial fruit… I thought I bought a blueberry bush by mistake, because thats what they looked like. The following year it got small red cherries. The next year I got bigger cherries… full size. Last year I got 18 pounds of cherries.

  4. Connie says:

    Question… since my tree has lots of suckers too… is that normal? I thought the tree was not supposed to have that problem. They are coming up all over the yard and in my flower beds. And they travel a long distance… probably over 20 feet. Right now I probably have 10 big ones … over 3 ft tall. Some of those I will dig up and give away. The ones in the grass just get cut with the lawn mower.

    • Interesting. Your “tree” may be spliced on to a root stock that is very invasive. So what I’m saying is that you may not get a Carmine jewel cherry from the suckers you dig up and transplant. Look at the leaves and see if they are the same, if not then the transplants might be a hardier plant but a purebred cherry.

  5. Connie says:

    Yes, I did mention to my husband that some of the “suckers” had bigger leaves… so I am sure I am getting two different types of trees. I would be curious to dig up one of the bigger-leafed ones and plant it and see what I get. I know that the Carmine Jewel is a cross between 2 types. I have given several suckers away to friends and wonder what their trees will look like and what the cherries will be like.

  6. OneBirdieMa says:

    Hi! Grateful to have found this article. I have a small harvest from my Carmine Jewel — enough this year to put by — and have been on the hunt for recipes. However, I have a comment with a story I agree that: netting the CJ is a PitA but necessary. So I get mine well netted this year, only to have a large garden snake do itself to death trying to get in/out/in/out of the net a few weeks ago. Yuck! But still there are cherries… . If I put something by that is successful (as in tasty) I’ll come back and post it here.

    • Wow I’ve never had to be concerned about netting my tree. I suppose that in the fall if the cherries were still on the tree then some migrating birds might have a delicious snack but in Edmonton that was never a concern in the mid summer. And no SNAKES either.

  7. Erma Dyck says:

    The birds don’t care about my cherry trees. One thing you can do is attach old cd’s to fish line and hang them on the tree. I did that to a Saskatoon berry bush and for the first the birds left me some berries.

  8. Connie says:

    Worms… worms. This year when I was pitting my cherries, I noticed that almost all of the cherries had a small worm inside !! Now, I am wondering if the cherries in past years had them too. We ate a LOT of cherry pies last year !! I pitched all the cherries this year and I didnt tell my son about the worms… he probably would have lost his lunch. I guess I will have to do some research about controlling the bugs before I pick them next year. What a shame.

  9. Linda says:

    I like the fact that my carmine jewel is such a consistent producer. Some years the Evans produce lots and some years very little in Edmonton. I got a cherry pitter with a plunger (from Amazon) and it has made my life so much easier when they are ripe rather than my previous straw method. Straw worked really well but was so slow.

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