Pickled cherries are a quick, easy, unexpected way to extend cherry season. Tartly sweet, subtly spiced, and surprisingly hard to stop eating, these little gems ably extend summer.
What are some uses for pickled cherries?
How to put pickled cherries to good use? Here are some of our preferred incarnations, but don’t let them stifle your imagination. Wanna share your intended use? We’d love to hear it. Let us know in a comment below.
Plop on a cheese board
Slip into cocktails
Toss into salad (and be certain to save the pickling liquid to dribble into the vinaigrette)
Nibble alongside charcuterie
Stir into pan juices of roast chicken or pork or duck
Toss into sparkling water along with the pickling liquid as a sort of cheater’s shrub
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 20 M
- Makes 16 (1/4-cup) servings
Special Equipment: 1-quart glass jar with a lid and a rubber seal, sterilized and funnel
If desired, remove the stems from the cherries. Do not remove the pits.
Combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices in a large saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Increase the heat and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced by about a third, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the cherries, and let cool to room temperature, 1/2 to 1 hour.
Pour the contents of the pan into a 1-quart glass jar with a lid and a rubber seal using a funnel. Close the lid and set aside in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks before opening. The contents should remain dark or bright red, depending on the type of cherries used, and the cherries will become wrinkled, somewhat similar to raisins.
Once opened, your jar of pickled cherries can be stashed in the fridge and will last for up to a month. Originally published August 30, 2017.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Quick! Run to your nearest farmer's market and make these now! These little red gems are destined to become a summer staple in my fridge. These are delicious—and I think they will be very versatile. On their own, they're a little tart, a little sweet, and a little spicy—nice on a ham and Cheddar sandwich or with a cold meat and cheese platter. I used them on crostini as an appetizer—crisp thin baguette slices, smear of soft goat cheese, sprinkle of baby arugula, and a little dice of the cherries. Delicious! I'll be saving the syrup to use as a base for a gastrique or to pickle some shallots in or maybe use in a vinaigrette. I can see it pairing well with a roasted beet and goat cheese salad, for instance, or just stir a spoon into some soda water for a quick cherry shrub. This is a real keeper!
I used sweet Bing cherries—they're the first to come to market in my area. The recipe came together in a snap—5 minutes to dissolve the sugar in the white wine vinegar and then another 5 minutes to reduce it by 1/3. I ended up with 3 cups liquid, which I poured over the cherries while it was still hot. After a couple of hours on the counter to cool, I hid the jar in the back of the fridge and tried to forget about them for 2 weeks. The cherries kept their color—still nice and plump after 2 weeks. They did float a little, I ended up with about 3/4 quart of cherries with some extra cherry vinegar syrup at the bottom of the jar.
Pure ambrosia or simply "umm umm good" is what I call this delicious treat! Even after growing up with grandparents who faithfully canned fruits and blanched vegetables, this was the first time I tried my hand at canning. With trepidation, I purchased my ingredients and quickly started prepping as soon as I arrived home, which took all of maybe 15 minutes, including washing the cherries.
Once all the ingredients were in the pot and the sugar started to dissolve, a lovely aroma wafted up from the pot after only 5 minutes. After another 5, the ingredients had boiled down nicely. I made a huge error then and submitted to curiosity by dipping one of my sweet Bing cherries into the mixture. Sweet, tangy flavor burst onto my tongue, the likes of which I can only liken to the childhood nostalgia of eating pickled peaches in South Georgia. I was not able to hold off for the requisite 2 weeks before tasting, but if the flavor improves any, I will be in cherry heaven.
The recipe makes a quart. I substituted a couple 1-pint Mason jars. I tried the recipe twice, once with pitted cherries and the other with the full cherries. No contest, I would keep the recipe as is with the full cherries. Usually I do not eat all of my cherries and allow them to spoil. Not anymore! Thank you for this lovely recipe!