Exciting, I know.
It's cherry season again! And seeing that I still have brandied cherries in my fridge (apparently I don't drink enough cocktails!), I decided to make pickled cherries this year. I made some at work for our cherry inspired dessert on the McKinlock Court menu, so I figured why not make some at home and . . . try canning them! And of course, give them away as gifts.
The following recipe is sort of a template in that you can substitute as needed. For instance, I didn't have any cider vinegar, so I used champagne vinegar instead. I also didn't have any cloves, but I had some wine muddling spices left over from winter and since it's mostly cloves, I used that instead. Feel free to substitute whatever you want that complements your fruit. I made a little over twice this recipe (2.31 times to be exact) and had enough to fill twelve 4 oz jars and one.
116 grams cider vinegar
116 grams ice wine vinegar
116 grams rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. cloves, whole
1/2 tsp. pink peppercorns
1 ea star anise
2 ea cinnamon sticks
90 grams light brown sugar
fresh cherries (or any fruit, really), pitted (I cut mine in half)
Prep your jars. This is the first time I've tried this, so I consulted a lot of websites and blogs just to get a better understanding of the process.
Bring vinegars and sugar to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Distribute spices into jars. I used the small 4 oz jars, so I broke my cinnamon sticks and star anise and divided everything else.
Pack your cherries into your jars, not too tight, leaving room at the top.
Pour hot vinegar into jars, leaving space at the top (the suggested size was 1/2", but again, since I was using smaller jars, I gauged it between 1/2-1/4").
Screw the lids on "finger tight" or until it starts to tighten, but not all the way. From what I understand, if you tighten it all the way, the air won't escape which creates the vacuum.
Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from pot and let sit at room temperature to cool.
Check seals after cooling. (I asked my mom about this because as I was removing the jars from the water, they hissed at me and I took this as a good sign that they were "vacuuming" and, well, let's just say the conversation got me nervous because I tend to over-think things. But they've all "popped" and are concave, so I'm taking that as a good sign).
I would suggest that if you give these away, caution people that you have loose spices in the jar, so that no one bites down on anything hard. Also, if you choose not to cut your cherries in half, also advise that they may contain pits!
I'm quite excited to see the results of my efforts. I will definitely add these cherries to my cheese plates and salads. Maybe even chop them up and add herbs and cheese and serve with a white fish.