How to Pickle Cherries


Illustration for article titled How to Pickle Cherries
Photo: Claire Lower

It’s almost summer, I guess—at least that’s what the bags of dark, ruby-red cherries at the grocery store are telling me. Cherry season will last a while, yet it will still seem too brief, which is why I’m taking time to quickly pickle a few out of every bag I buy.

Quick pickling won’t preserve the fruits as long as full-on canning, but it does give them at least a couple of extra months of life, and I’ve never had a jar of pickles last longer than that. Plus, pickled cherries are extremely good. They are the epitome of tart and sweet, and are equally at home on a cheese plate or in a Manhattan or sidecar. I threw a vanilla bean and star anise pod in my most recent batch, but don’t feel beholden to those. Fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, or crushed cardamom pods would also be delicious, so feel free to experiment. There’s no need to cook the cherries to soften them; the hot brine will do that work for you.

To make pickled cherries, you will need:

  • About 4 cups of pitted cherries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1 star anise pod

Place the cherries in two sterilized canning jars and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer for 30 seconds, then pour the hot brine over the cherries. Cover loosely and let the brine come to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to chill.