If we are what we eat, my stellar eating habits over the last two months would produce some sort of cherry-Sauza-Cool Ranch Doritos hybrid. But mostly cherries.
We took advantage of cherries being so plentiful and affordable this summer. Was it like that everywhere else? I swear that this was the first summer they virtually begged us to buy them.
With the end of cherry season approaching, I hoarded a few pounds for the freezer and then spotted a terrific idea in Food & Wine for the very last pound of cherries I had on hand: pickling in balsamic vinegar.
The balsamic vinegar takes on the sweet cherry flavor and made a tasty vinaigrette to drizzle over grilled pork tenderloin. And the sweet & sour cherries are perfect for snacking, eating in a salad, over toasted baguette slices topped with goat cheese (my favorite!), and piled on top of brined & grilled pork chops.
The original recipe (for Pickled Figs) noted that the figs would be good on the shelf for 6 months. Cherries are more delicate than the slightly under-ripe figs recommended and I wanted them to retain as much of their texture as possible. I was certain that they wouldn’t survive a 15-minute canning bath so I chose to skip the “official” canning procedures and stored them in the fridge instead.
Stretch out the cherry season with these balsamic pickled cherries.
- 4-5 1/2-pint canning jars with lids and rings
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/4 pounds cherries, stems and pits removed
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and balsamic vinegar until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to a boil and then add the cherries, simmering over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Spoon the cherries equally between the jars (I ended up with 4 full jars of cherries and a 5th jar that was just over half full of cherry-balsamic vinegar).
- Turn up the heat to high and cook the balsamic mixture for another 5 minutes.
- Ladle the syrup over the cherries, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.
- Screw the lids and rings on top and try to wait a few days before opening the first jar.
- The cherries will keep a couple of months in the fridge.
- If you wish to store the cherries at room temperature, you'll need to follow appropriate canning procedures: sterilizing the jar components first and then boiling the closed jars for 15 minutes in a hot water bath.
Yields: 4-5 1/2 pint jars
Estimated time: 30 minutes