I’ve been experimenting lately with different types of pickles – something that has been immensely rewarding and lots of fun. It started when Planet Organics sent me 10 orders of Green Garlic in place of the 10 pounds of Baby Artichokes I ordered. They had ended up running out of stock on the artichokes, and for the CSA-style subscribers, the artichokes were to be replaced with Green Garlic. Which probably would have been fine if I hadn’t been buying so much, lol. So there I was, late one evening – confronting a ginormous amount of green garlic. Since then, I’ve pickled Fennel (probably my favorite), Carrots and Radishes, baby turnips, asparagus, and now – Cherries.
Yes – that is right. Pickled Cherries. One night, when I was poking around online thinking about how nice it would be if Mr. Man would take me out to dinner, I saw Pickled Cherries on the menu for Chez Panisse. A little light went off in my head and said “Wow! That sounds interesting”. When things settled down enough from Miss Thing getting out of school and all that hooplah, I resolved to try it. A very nice lady at Frog Hollow Farm was kind enough to sell me a flat of their amazing Ranier Cherries, and I was rushing home and getting busy popping pits.
Of course, I got about ten cherries in when Miss Thing came over, saw what I was doing and decided it looked like fun and offered to help. Which was awesome on several levels – having Miss Thing actually wanting to help in the kitchen is always a rare pleasure, so I handed over the cherry pitter and stepped out of the way. It made the process go a lot faster, since while she was pitting, I was prepping everything else – all in all, it was one of my faster pickling sessions, which was very cool.
I waited a couple of days before trying them – I had planned to wait a little longer, say a week or two atleast, but I ended up giving in to temptation and trying them today. And I really like them. The first burst of flavor is salty and tangy, balanced with some sweet. I think I added too much clove though, since the flavor of clove was distractingly strong. I’d like to say that next time I would add less clove, but as much as I like these – there probably won’t be a next time, since Mr. Man and Miss Thing, who were dubious about pickled cherries to begin with, didn’t end up liking them. Ah well, dems da breaks, right? They’ve both been less than enthused about my pickling habit anyways.
I should probably include this little disclaimer on canning and pickling: I’m still learning, and also – I take a somewhat-more-lackadaisical approach to pickling in that I seldom sterilize the jars, rarely cook the ingredients beforehand, and have been known to ‘wing it’ from time to time. All of these things could put you at risk, and if you have a compromised immune system and/or healthy fear of botulism, this recipe might not be for you. I haven’t died yet, and I am more or less of the opinion that given the vinegar and salt content of pickles, I’m probably safe, but again – if you’re worried you can check out the USDA guidelines on canning, find an alternative recipe, or refrigerate them and use them up quickly. I am not an expert on canning and if you are not familiar with canning procedures, I recommend you familiarize yourself before attempting this recipe. Also, I’ve seen a lot of other recipes for pickled cherries, most of which called for 2-4 times the amount of sugar that I called for. If you’re hoping for something sweeter, less salty & tart, try one of them instead.
- 7lbs Cherries; stemmed and pitted
- 4 cups Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 cup Distilled Vinegar
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup Pickling Salt
- Cloves (whole)
- All Spice (whole)
- Prepare clean, pint sized jars and lids (Sterilize if desired)
- Simmer lids to soften the seal
- Pack jars tightly with stemmed and pitted cherries and add 1-3 cloves (to taste) and 1 whole all spice to each jar
- In a saucepan, bring the Red Wine Vinegar, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Sugar and Pickling Salt to a boil, stirring occassionally, until sugar and salt are fully dissolved
- Ladle vinegar mixture in to the packed jars
- Remove Air bubbles
- Place lids and rings on jars and process in Water-Bath Canner for 10 minutes
- Cool overnight and check seals