I’m in a big pickling kick, and I came to realize that I’ve never really had pickled fruits before. Apparently they’re just the bees knees, so I looked up some recipes in my pickling book to get a feel for things. With cherries being the only thing really in season right now (and, having got a few bags at a great price!) I decided my first batch of pickled fruit would be cherries.
Russian Pickled Cherries
- 2 cups sweet cherries, rinsed and stemmed
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- part of a cinnamon stick
- dash nutmeg
Put the cherries and vinegar into a bowl or large-mouth jar. Cover and allow to sit overnight.
Next day, drain off the vinegar into a non-reactive saucepan. Add the sugar, water, cinnamon chunk and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, decrease heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool.
Once cooled, pour the liquid over the cherries again. Allow to sit, covered and undisturbed, for 3 days.
Drain the liquid back into a sauce pan, boil and simmer again for 15 minutes. Let cool.
Put the cherries into a sterilized pint jar, pour in the liquid, and cover with a tight, sterilized lid. Let the cherries mellow for 1 month.
Cherries should keep for about a year.
The original recipe called for things like “cardamom pod”, “mace” and “allspice”. I didn’t have those things. Mace is similar enough to nutmeg that I made the substitution. Otherwise, I would have just omitted it entirely.
The original recipe also suggests a small bit of kirsch as an optional addition. I don’t keep kirsch on hand so I wanted to replace it with some other liquor: I was thinking brandy or dark rum. As we have neither of either (Dana being pregnant has pushed booze way way down on our priorities list), I scrapped the idea entirely.
The resulting cherries are sweet with a bold cherry flavor, but also a distinct vinegar flavor and tartness. They also have a very interesting texture, more dense and firm than I would have expected. These aren’t your dessert cherries, but they are definitely tasty. I suspect they will go well with a pan-friend chicken or a roast pork loin or something like that.