As I typed this I kept typing out cheeries instead of cherries. That might be a subconscious reaction to how these make me feel. Juicy red orbs that are delicately sweet but distinctively briny.
These beautiful cherries came to me from Washington state. Now I have cherry trees growing in my yard in Vermont, but nothing that grows at my home compares to the size, color, and rich flavor of these fruits. Despite constant swatting of hands my Tall Dark and Handsome consumed at least 2 pounds of these cherries fresh. It was easy to tell he had be sneaking them because his hands were stained red! To be fair we both ate plenty of fresh cherries because they were so irresistible, but from the moment I saw them I knew I wanted to make pickled cherries. I regret not getting more than 30 pounds because I also wanted to make his favorite, Cherries in Vanilla Syrup (he is SUCH an ice cream man!). I had to settle on small batches of each in order to make us both happy.
Pickled cherries are an irresistible accompaniment to charcuterie and cheese boards. Simply serve them as part of an elegant salad with baby greens, goat cheese, and pecans. Try using both the brine and cherry to make cocktails like a Dirty Cherry Martini, a Manhattan, or an Old Fashioned.
brine: (this will yield enough for ~15 quarts)
- 9c cider vinegar
- 2 c h2o
- 5T salt
- 7c sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5-6 whole cloves
- 3-4 peppercorns
- 1″x3″ segment of orange peel
When making pickles I often make a large batch of brine, more than I will need to fill my jars. Then I can up the left over brine storing it away which makes it super easy to knock out small batches of pickles with my favorite brine. The preserved brine just needs to be reheated before use on the next jar full of unsuspecting fruit or veggies.
First prep your canning jars by cleaning and sterilizing them in a hot water bath. I recommend using a regular mouth jar that has shoulders on it. It will make packing the cherries tightly a cinch.
Next prepare the cherries. I choose to stem and seed the cherries making them easier to eat out of the jar but you can preserve really beautiful cherries by trimming the stems and leaving the pits in tact.
Add your per jar seasonings that include the cinnamon stick and orange peel then tightly pack the cherries into your jars. If you pack to loosely, the fruit will float and you will be disappointed by the extra room in you jar.
Once the fruit is packed bring all the brine ingredients together and heat until the sugar melts and you have a hard boil. Then carefully fill each jar with bring until it is 1/4” from the rim. Wipe any brine from the rims, seal the jars and return to the water bath. Bring the water back to high heat and boil for 7 minutes.
Carefully remove the jars from the canner and allow to rest until completely cool. Store the pickled cherries in a cool place for up to 2 years.