Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

Pickled Cherries

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Twenty years ago we lived in the house of our dreams on a semi rural hilltop surrounded by cherry orchards. We all looked forward to Melbourne Cup Day, the first Tuesday in November, which marked the beginning of the local cherry pick, not only for the feverish activity it brought to out peaceful idyll but also for the delicious fruit that was regularly left on our doorstep.

The pickers were generally a ragtag mob of backpackers who pitched their tents by the sorting shed on our fence line, but there was never a worry about late night rowdy parties, exhaustion from working up a ladder in the hot sun took care of that. Each year they were supervised by the same  Canadian guy who would arrive a month ahead to plant a veggie garden to keep himself, the pickers and the neighbours supplied with fresh salad veggies over the summer period.

In their early teens our daughters joined the pickers, their first paid work. They were willing workers, and were readily re-employed each season. The pay was much more generous than pocket money. Cherries have played a big role in or lives.

I love the big fat juicy late fruiting Bing variety for eating and think them too good for cooking. It’s the variety I choose to take pride of place with our Christmas desserts. Smaller, softer cherries often have stronger maraschino overtones making them perfect for jam, tarts, pies and clafoutis.

A recipe from Simon Bryant’s “Vegies” inspired me to pickle a jar of small non descript cherries to serve with baked brie. This was a test batch so I limited it to only 500g of fruit, but the slightly sweet, slightly sour flavour was so complementary to the rich warm cheese, I’ll be making a larger batch in the next day or two. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting the 7 days for the cherries to pickle.

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500g ripe cherries, pips and stems intact

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup champagne vinegar

1cup of water

Wash a large jar and it’s lid in hot soapy water. Place in an oven heated to 120C for 30 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool.

While the jar is sterilising, wash the cherries.

Using a toothpick, pierce each fruit with a toothpick down to the stone in 2-3 places.

Put the sugar, vinegar and water into a small pot and gently warm, stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved.

Pack the cherries into the jar, then pour the pickling liquid over the cherries ensuring they are well submerged.

Seal with the lid, then refrigerate for 7 days* before serving with warm oozy brie, Christmas ham, roasted duck or lamb.

*Update: After 10 weeks, the maraschino flavours from the pits had permeated the cherries. They are much better after a longer time than I originally recommended in the pickling liquid.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

32 comments on “Pickled Cherries

  1. Pingback: Terrine Chez Moi | Please Pass the Recipe

  2. richardmcgary
    December 2, 2014

    I love pickled cherries. They go great with charcuterie, as well as warm Brie. I want to use them in a sauce for venison, perhaps duck. I do my pickled cherries differently so I need to give these a try. I just bought 8 lbs of cherries to pickle so the timing of your post was perfect.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 2, 2014

      Nice to see you in blogland Richard. This was a great starting point, we loved the result. They would be absolutely delicious with game. I’d be curious to see your recipe, have you posted it?

      Like

      • richardmcgary
        December 3, 2014

        Thanks. Life has been hectic this year. I posted 2 recipes on the blog in one post
        http://remcooks.com/2014/08/03/pickled-cherries-2-ways-bing-cherries-and-ranier-cherries/
        Both were very tasty but I preferred the bing cherries. The vinegar at the end is wonderful and I am thinking of marinating some pears in it for a dessert or a salad. 🙂 It’s just too good to throw away.

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        December 3, 2014

        I have a recollection of having seen this post but at the time omitted to save it. It would be interesting to see how the texture of the cherries differs after simmering them in the pickling liquor versus pickling them raw. The bing variety have just begun to appear, I’ll make a batch to your recipe and report back.

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  3. littledogslaughed
    November 30, 2014

    I love, love, love the top image–the cherries just look so luscious-just waiting to be tasted! Cherries are among my favorite fruits and your recipe sounds just like what my holiday is looking for! Thank you for sharing this-

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 30, 2014

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked the photo. The beautiful colour of the cherries faded in the pickling liquid, but the sweet and sour flavour is divine

      Like

  4. Margot @ Gather and Graze
    November 26, 2014

    Sandra, that top photo is stunning! I’m so intrigued to know what a pickled cherry tastes like… will definitely pickle a few from the next batch I scoop up at the markets this weekend! Love, love, love cherry season! 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 27, 2014

      Thanks for the compliments about re the photo. This is much better time of the year not only for cherries, but the light too! Cherries taste delicious pickled. Let me know how you like them

      Like

  5. marymtf
    November 25, 2014

    Your bio notes ar as interesting as your recipes, Sandra.

    Like

  6. Fae's Twist & Tango
    November 25, 2014

    Wow, your recipe, your photos are just gorgeous. I also love the big fat juicy late fruiting Bing variety… I eat them immediately if I get my hands on them. For some reason, I always forget that you are in an opposite season than us, and the first thing I thought was, where did she get these gorgeous cherries from. 😀 ))) Wonders of the universe.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 25, 2014

      Thanks Fae, cherries are so easy to get excited about! Californian cherries are available here in the depths of our winter, but I resist buying them because of the airmiles. The seasons speed by so quickly, you’ll have cherries again in the blink of an eye…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. anne54
    November 25, 2014

    One of the (many) things I love about cherries is that they are seasonal, so it is a joy to see them in the fruit shop and know that their deliciousness will only be around for a few months. I pickled cherries for presents last year. But I gave all the bottles away and never tried them! So I will make them again, using your recipe. I have never heard of champagne vinegar. Where would I go in Melbourne to find some?

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    • ladyredspecs
      November 25, 2014

      I buy champagne vinegar at the Vital Ingredient at Prahran Mkt. It’s a bit more expensive than white wine vinegar, but has a very gentle acidity. White wine vinegar was the vinegar stipulated in the original recipe.

      Like

      • anne54
        November 27, 2014

        Thank you. I rarely get to the Prahran Market, but I will keep my eyes peeled at other places.

        Like

  8. Francesca
    November 25, 2014

    I’ll be definitely trying his recipe. Any substitutions you might recommend for the Champagne vinegar? I have a pantry full of vinegar and really shouldn’t add another bottle.
    Great stories of the old Wandin days.Such a lovely place.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 25, 2014

      Actually Francesca, Bryant’s recipe asks for white wine vinegar, but all I had was champagne! Huh…that sounds kinda decadent….

      Like

  9. I have to wait too long for cherry season! These look excellent. I’ve pickled the tiny wild plums in my backyard with good success and will have to try cherries. That combination of sweet and tart is a winner.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 25, 2014

      Thanks you Liz, I was very happy. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I love an acidic tang. If you liked the pickled plums, you’ll enjoy pickled cherries too.

      Like

  10. My Kitchen Witch
    November 25, 2014

    Your title alone had me hooked – anything pickled, anything cherry. And, what a wonderful trip down memory lane! I’m definitely bookmarking this one for when cherries are in season here.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 25, 2014

      Thanks Deb. Posts inspired by wandering down memory lane seem so much easier to write. Believe me these cherries will be worth the wait, they are excellent!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. chef mimi
    November 25, 2014

    Oh my. These sound fabulous. How are you serving the cherries with the brie?

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    • ladyredspecs
      November 25, 2014

      I thought of you Mimi when I served the cherries and warm cheese! Because this was a trial batch and the recipe instructed me to leave the stems and pips intact, I just served them beside the oven warmed brie, but they were so delicious together I think next time they could be piled on top before the cheese goes in the oven.

      Like

  12. Leah
    November 24, 2014

    First, amazing photographs! Second, thank you for the trip down memory lane to sample your pickled cherries. The hours of work amongst the orchards really didn’t do anything to dampen my love of cherries or the significance they have as a special treat. Cherries sing Christmas to me. The good news is they say this year there is going to be a bumper crop in Oz so perfect for making more of these delicious sounding treats 🙂 xxx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 25, 2014

      Cherries will always make me think of our time on the hill! These were ridiculously simple to make and very very delicious. Xxxx

      Like

  13. theculinaryscribe
    November 24, 2014

    Lovely post – right up my street 🙂 And fantastic cherry images too!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 24, 2014

      Thanks Katherine. I’m a city dweller now, my garden comprises a few pots of herbs on a balcony and a potted cumquat tree, but i love variety in my diet and taking advantage of seasonal fruit and veg to pickle and preserve.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Raphaelle
    November 24, 2014

    What a great discovery, I had never heard of pickled cherries before! That combination of brie and pickled cherries sounds amazing… may be you could cook brie in the oven together with some of the lovely cherries… YUM 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 24, 2014

      I baked the brie and then served the cherries on the side, but the pickle would be delicious warmed on top of the cheese

      Liked by 1 person

  15. cheergerm
    November 24, 2014

    What a great story and memory. Fat juicy cherries, oh my. One of my NZ grandfathers was an orchardist and I have gorgeous memories of cherries, especially those cherry guns going off! I am sooooo making a jar of these for Chrissy day, the growers market have just started getting cherry stock the last few weeks.

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    • ladyredspecs
      November 24, 2014

      Hey Cheery, yes guns boomed all day scaring the thieving and destructive birds. Of course there was not only the fruit to enjoy, but the blossom and the autumn colours too. The one downside was the sprays……

      Liked by 1 person

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