The cherries this year have been stellar. Every time I hit the farmer’s market or grocery store, I can’t seem to resist them. They wound up in my Red, White Chocolate and Blue ice cream sundaes I posted on Monday and The Artist and I have been eating them daily. I finally hit saturation but there was still a big bag of them in my refrigerator. What else could I do with them?
One of my friends, Sean Timberlake, is the guru of preserving food and founder of Punk Domestics where he and his friends share recipes for all kinds of canning and preserving the seasonal bounty. His recent postings have me thinking of pickling everything in sight.
Sean > extra cherries … Sean > extra cherries. Yep, the connection clicked and I had my answer!
The Artist and I recently went to one of our favorite restaurants and they were serving a burrata appetizer that featured pickled cherries. Great minds think alike! I couldn’t wait to try to make it myself at home.
The cherries burst in your mouth, packed with the tangy pickling liquid. On their own they are good but quite strong. But when you combine them with the mozzarella, you’ve got the penultimate bite. This is the perfect balance of sweet, savory, creamy, and acidic.
Pickled cherries make a wonderful gift. You can double or triple the recipe and ladle them into smaller jars. Make sure the lids are coated because bare metal will react with the acid in the vinegar. Store them in the refrigerator up to 1 month.
Today is Food Network’s #SummerSoiree, a celebration of the incredible produce of summer. This week we are all making recipes that revolve around cherries and can be served at your 4th of July celebrations.
I hope you all have a fabulous Independence Day. Enjoy the fireworks, family and friends gathered together, and of course the foods and flavors of summer!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Rather than using a cherry pitter that tends to splatter cherry juice all over the place (watch out, it stains everything!), I just used my paring knife. I run it around the pit splitting each cherry into two pieces. Twist them apart, separate the pits with my thumbnail, and they are ready for either eating out of hand, pickling, or jam. If you prefer to use a pitter, I recommend this one – you can do a bunch at a time and there is a splash guard to help keep you and the kitchen clean.
- Pickled Cherries
- 1 lb fresh ripe cherries, preferably bing
- 1-1/2 cups red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt (or 2 tsp table salt)
- 4 to 5 drops Boyajian orange oil or fresh orange zest
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp coriander seeds and/or 2 cardamom pods *
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 3 tbsp organic olive oil
- 2 tbsp cherry balsamic vinegar or regular balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp strained cherry pickling liquid
- 1 tbsp finely minced shallots
- 1 tbsp finely minced chives (or more shallots)
- 1/2 tsp agave nectar, if desired (optional)
- Pinch xanthan gum, optional
- Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup bocconcini (small balls of mozzarella packed in water), quartered if large, left whole if small
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved, heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks, or a combination of the two
- About 1 cup pickled cherries (from above)
- 3 tbsp coarsely chopped pecans
- Chiffonade of fresh basil
- Pickle the Cherries: Rinse and de-stem the cherries. Cut each one in half, discarding the pits. Place the cherries in a glass canning jar(s) or a deep glass bowl. Make sure the lid for the jar(s) have a coated, non-metal surface.
- In a nonreactive saucepan,** combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, orange peel, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds/cardamom pods and mace. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Pour the vinegar mixture through a strainer over the cherries until they are completely submerged. Set aside to cool. When the liquid is no longer warm, seal the jar or cover the bowl and refrigerate up to a month. The longer the cherries sit, the better they get, so if you can, make the cherries a few days before you plan to serve the salad.
- Make the Dressing: Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Seal the jar and briskly shake until the vinaigrette is thoroughly blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
- The dressing can be made several days ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and shake well before serving with the salad.
- Assemble the Salad: In a large mixing bowl, combined the mozzarella, tomatoes, cherries, and nuts. Drizzle with a little of the dressing. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and toss until everything is evenly coated and seasoned. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the basil, tossing again gently just to lightly coat them with the dressing. Transfer the salad to salad plates and serve.
- For a more dramatic presentation, arrange the ingredients on a platter, drizzle with a little of the dressing (pass the remainder at the table), season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle the nuts and basil over the top.
- Yield: 2 to 4 servings
- * Both coriander and cardamom are wonderful spices often used in Indian and Asian cuisines. You have a choice in this recipe of using either or combining them together. If you use cardamom pods, after cooking they will split open. You can strip out the seeds and add them to the pickling liquid.
- ** A nonreactive saucepan is one made from enamel, glass, or stainless steel. Tin-lined copper would be OK, but tin is easily scratched, exposing the copper, so this is not the ideal choice.
Create a New Tradition Today!
This recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly Summer Soiree celebration. See the links below for inspiration and great recipes and check out our Pinterest page for even more!
Feed Me Phoebe: Red Beet Hummus Recipe with Lemony Yogurt
Creative Culinary: July 4th Red, White and Blue Patriotic Poke Cake
Weelicious: Blue Corn Chip Crusted Fish Sticks with Red Pepper Coulis
The Lemon Bowl: 3 Steps to Perfectly Cooked Sweet Corn
Bacon and Souffle: Red, White and Blue Bark
Healthy Eats: 5 Frozen Treats for a Sweet Fourth
Taste with the Eyes: Dessert for the 4th of July: Elderflower Berry Pavlova
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Best Ever Elk Burgers For The 4th of July
Red or Green: Roasted Sweet Pepper Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Heirloom Tomato Pie
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Summer Raspberry Sorbet
Homemade Delish: 4th of July Cheesecake
FN Dish: Portable Picks to Make and Take on July 4th
Let’s connect! If you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, need to alter a recipe for gluten-free, or want recipe suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks for reading!
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