This easy pickled cherries recipe is a great way to enjoy sweet summer cherries. They are a great addition to a charcuterie or cheese board, they perk up a salad, and they make a tasty snack!
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
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Why you should make pickled cherries
- Quick & Easy – This recipe will only take you about 20 minutes to make.
- Versatile – You can add pickled cherries to so many things for an added punch of flavor.
- Make ahead – The cherries get better the next day, so making them ahead of time is encouraged.
Easy pickled cherries
We tend to automatically put fruit into the sweet category. But, it can have delicious savory applications as well, like my cherry chutney.
Adding sweet and sour ingredients to fruit turns them into something really tasty and interesting. And, because cherry season is short, it’s a great way to enjoy them long after they disappear from the store.
The ingredients for this fruity pickle are common ingredients in your home.
- Fresh cherries – I used sweet cherries for this recipe. Any sweet variety will do.
- Apple cider vinegar – I use Bragg. It is the best, in my opinion.
- Fresh rosemary – a sprig or two is all you need.
- Black peppercorns – whole peppercorns, not ground pepper.
- Brown sugar – you can use white sugar, but I prefer the deeper flavor of brown sugar.
How to make them
First, wash the cherries. Then, add the cherries and the sprig of rosemary to a glass quart-sized (32 oz.) jar.
In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and peppercorns. Bring the mixture to a boil, then shut it off.
Carefully add the hot brine to the cherries in the jar. Let it cool on the countertop until room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.
Pickled cherries FAQ’s
Here are a few quick tips, and some answers to frequently asked questions.
I wouldn’t recommend it. The texture is completely different. However, if that’s your only option and you really want them, proceed with slightly lowered expectations.
Technically, it should be ok to sit out. HOWEVER, I am not suggesting this. To be on the safe side, and you know I’m all about food safety, I’d store them in the fridge.
Yep! The cherries actually get better as they sit, so make them a day or two ahead of time for optimal pickling time.
Cherry season is not around for long, so don’t wait too long to grab a couple of pounds. I’ll be making another big batch before the summer is over so I can enjoy them long after they disappear from the stores.
When you’ve eaten all of the cherries, save the liquid for salad dressings or a marinade! It has tons of flavor.
Variations and substitutions
The variations and substitutions for this recipe are limitless. Swap rosemary for your favorite herb – try thyme, lemon thyme, marjoram, or tarragon.
Add a little heat to the mixture with the addition of red chili flakes, or a fresh chili pepper. Anything from a moderately hot jalapeño to a fiery Thai red chili.
Substitute light brown sugar with regular granulated white sugar. You can also adjust the amount to make it sweeter or less sweet.
Apple cider vinegar is my personal favorite, but rice wine vinegar is also nice here. Try other light vinegars (I wouldn’t recommend balsamic) to experiment and find a new favorite.
To push these into savory territory, add cloves of garlic and slices of red onion or shallot.
After 24 hours in the brine, cherries will turn just slightly darker, but will retain their texture and bright color. The juice from the cherries will turn the brine a beautiful ruby hue.
These pickled cherries pair well with a charcuterie or cheese board, plus they make a great bruschetta topping.
Helpful tools and equipment
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More pickled recipes:
- Pickled radishes
- Bread and butter pickles
- Pickled banana peppers
- Curtido – Guatemalan pickled vegetables
- 4 cups sweet cherries, stems removed, pits intact (see notes) // 560g
- 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar // 360ml
- 1 cup water // 240ml
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar // 120ml
- 2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 - 5" sprig rosemary
- Rinse cherries and drain well.
- Place cherries and rosemary in glass jar and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar, water, sugar and black peppercorns. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil, then shut off.
- Carefully pour liquid over cherries.
- Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before eating.
You can leave the stems on or remove them - completely up to you. If you prefer to remove the pits, you can also do that.
I like a vinegary brine, so I use a lot of vinegar. If you don't like yours as strong, use 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of vinegar.
I prefer light brown sugar over white sugar because it has a deeper flavor. You can use white sugar, if you prefer. Light brown sugar will also make the brine darker than white sugar.
Add pickled cherries to your favorite grain salads or green salads for a punch of flavor. They also make a great addition to a cheese board or a charcuterie board.
They also make an excellent homemade hostess gift! Take a jar to a friend or neighbor the next time you're invited to a summer party.
Once you've eaten all of the cherries, save that brine! You can turn it into a delicious vinaigrette for salads. Just blend it with a bit of olive oil, Dijon mustard and a little diced shallot for a quick and easy dressing.
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Serving Size:1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 51Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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