FOR THE LOVE OF PRODUCE: pickled cherries
I got to Canterbury Farmers Market late last week, but in time enough to grab the last small basket of local sweet cherries: half to eat, and half to pickle. The season is fleeting—and our own Sour Cherry tree was loaded—so I got busy with all things cherry. Here is one unusual way I came up with to eat them without baking. And if you can them, you can keep the cherry season forever on your palette. Enjoy!
Pickled Cherries Makes one 16 oz jar.
- Rinse and dry a heaping 2 cups of cherries. I used 1/2 sweet cherries and 1/2 Sour cherries. Immediately pit them and cut them into quarters. NOTE: once they are rinsed they will begin to deteriorate so work quickly.
- Measure 2 cups worth and place in refrigerator bowl or 16 oz. jar. (If you want to preserve them by canning, see alterations below.)
In a stainless steel sauce pan combine the following:
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup white cane sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (Note: iodized salt will darken your pickles.)
- 1 T finely chopped red or orange bell pepper
- 1 T finely sliced or chopped red onion
Bring all ingredients to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Pour over cherries and refrigerate. They are good in 12 hours, great in 24 hours and awesome the longer they sit. They will keep refrigerated four weeks or longer.
Add them to potato salad, dress a hot dog, or serve as a side to grilled meats and vegetables. Use them any way you would use pickle relish.
*If you wish to can these to preserve for later, sterilize your jar and canning lids with hot soapy water then pour boiling water over them. Fill with cherries and liquid into a hot, dry jar. Wipe jar rim clean then screw on lids tightly. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool.
I LOVE produce. And it always amazes me how little people eat of it. But given the tasteless, cardboard varieties many of us grew up with—and is still in the stores—it’s no wonder. Sawing a slice of tomato only to have it stiffly lay on the plate looking back at you with its dead-pink, odorless flesh is unappealing, only worsened by the tree-branch chew of it. Who wants to fill 2/3 of your plate with that?
I have been inspired to create new ways to eat fruits and vegetables all summer long when their favor is at its peak. And because combining with additional flavors enhances the taste even more than its singular ingredients, recipes often help with produce that is less that perfect, a reality we are faced with most of the year here in New England.
It tastes better fresh. It tastes better local. But if you have to buy in the supermarkets, recipes help.