Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Cherries

The local cherry season is something we have come to cherish here in Northern California. For a short while every spring and early summer, cherries can be found at the farmer's markets and fruit stands. A few select cherry orchards offer "pick your own" options, where you can go out with a bucket and spend half the day picking cherries and enjoying the sunshine. When you've picked enough, or your bucket is full, you can pay by the pound and be on your way. You can then take your newly acquired cherries to make cherry pies, ice creams, or use them in savory applications. Of course, that is if you don't eat the whole lot fresh from the bag first!

Because I was buying cherries in such a volume this year, I invested in a cherry (and olive) pitter. I chose the OXO Good Grips pitter (about $13 on Amazon). Be sure to be wearing a shirt that is dark or that you don't mind staining, because while the pitter comes with a twist-on splatter guard, cherry juice will still spray out. I have found that pitting the cherries into a high sided bowl helped keep most of the spatter contained.

I used my knowledge learned at the Maker Faire Pickling Workshop with a bold mix of spices to create these innovative Sweet and Spicy Pickled Cherries. Try these in an cocktail (with a splash of the liquid) or paired with goat cheese or on a charcuterie platter at your next party for a twist on traditional pickles. The pickling liquid also gets infused with the taste of cherries and spices, and would make a wonderful base for a vinaigrette.

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Cherries
Makes 2 pint jars

  • 1 pound fresh cherries, pitted
   For the brine:
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
   Per jar, you will need:
  • 3 coins of fresh ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

  1. Combine apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a sauce pan. Heat to a simmer.
  2. Place your pitted cherries into 2 pint size mason jars.
  3. Add your ginger and spices on top of the cherries. Be sure to not overfill the jar. You are looking to leave head-space in the lip of the jar.
  4. Pour the hot brine over your cherries and spices. Fill to the bottom of the lip of the jar. A canning funnel can be very useful in this step, but not necessary.
  5. Seal your jars, and leave out to let cool. Once cooled, store your cherries in the refrigerator. Let marinate for at least 48 hours before enjoying.
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This recipe is for refrigerator pickles, so while my equipment was clean, it did not need to be sterilized. If you plan to can these cherries, please take caution and sterilized everything and follow proper canning procedures.

Do you pickle at home or use any other old-school preservation methods? What is your favorite type of pickle? What is the strangest thing you have seen pickled, and would you try it?


  1. Thanks for stopping by and linking up your spiced pickled cherries at the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop. We are so glad you came! I featured your Cherries just now on my FB. Come on by and take a look! Blessings...Shari @

    1. Thank you! I appreciate the shares, especially with Facebook being so wonky as of late!

  2. We have lots of pick-your-own fruits in Alabama - but not cherries! :( I do buy them at the grocery store though and boy, are they expensive! My guys love them and eat nearly the entire bag the day I get them. I wonder if I could hide them long enough to make a batch of pickled cherries… :)
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I think the pick you own stands definitely give you an appreciation for the work it takes to get the produce from the tree to the store!

  3. Dropping by from Pure Grace Farms and the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop to let you know I have chosen your post as a feature this week! Congratulations. Come on by and see all the nice things I had to say:) Link up starts on Tues. at 5 PM EST. Hope to see you there!

  4. WOW - that sounds pretty simple and looks amazing! I was wondering if they might be good over a brick of cream cheese with crackers (we do that with hot pepper jelly)... Sounds great with goats cheese! I'm pinning and sharing! Thank you so much for linking up at Merry Monday Linky ~ I'm so glad you did! Julia


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