Dark red cherries, the royal gem of stone fruit, are an All-American summertime essential. You may think of cherry pie when you see these stemmed sweethearts, but have you thought about pickled cherries? You should, beacause each pickled ruby nugget has a marvelous balance of acidity to sweetness and biting into these gems you’ll taste a bit of sweet, get a hit of tanginess and be left with a slightly spicy note in your mouth.
This process, as opposed to canning, doesn’t require any boiling or sterilization of jars nor do you need worry about temperature. The cherries bath in a simple concoction of distilled white vinegar, sugar, pepper corns, cinnamon, orange zest, salt and red pepper flakes. When it comes to eating them, my first choice was to partner them with a smooth, creamy Burrata, and those who know me, know that I’ve always said if Mozzarella and Ricotta married, their offspring would be Burrata. In this instance, I placed the swoon-worthy cheese on top of some fresh pea shoots, then spooned the fruit on top. The taste of the cool, mellow, soft cheese counterbalanced with the sweet-tart of the cherries is sublime. You may want to try tossing them in with some sautéed baby kale or spinach; the piquant fruit provides a nice balance to the warm vegetable – best of all — the color combination is fantastic. You may also want to try heating the fruit and liquid in a small pan, reducing it to a syrupy consistency and then scatter over some simply roasted chicken as a finishing touch. The pickled cherries would also be a great addition to a classic cocktail, such as a Manhattan, or you just may want to reach into the jar every now, stealing a couple to pop in your mouth.
Next time you have some fresh cherries, pull some aside and give pickling a try, I’m here to say they’re delicious!
Pickled Cherries, The New Summertime Essential
- ½ pound fresh cherries pitted
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 – 1 ½ strips orange zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon peppercorns black
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Pit the cherries and place them in a quart jar.
- In a saucepan, add the vinegar, sugar and spices and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the flame to medium-low and simmer for 10-minutes. Remove the liquid from the heat and let cool for another 10-minutes.
- With a strainer over the jar, pour the liquid over the cherries and discard the spices. The fruit should be submerged, but if it’s not, you can top the jar off with more vinegar. Let cool completely and then cover. Refrigerate for at least 30-minutes before using and they can be kept up to one month.
Adapted from Baked from Scratch