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Pickled Cherries Are the One Thing Your Next Get-Together Needs

For your next happy hour, skip the olives that contain around 50mg of sodium. You can make pickled cherries instead. Tangy balsamic vinegar mixed with the tartness of the fruit makes a great accompaniment to cocktails and pre-dinner cheese platters. You can leave the stems on for easy snacking, or remove the pits from the cherries if you want 'em to look more like olives. Bonus: These also make a great edible gift during the holidays, so save this recipe on your Pinterest board for later.

Pickled Cherries

Pickled Cherries

Makes 2 cups

Time: 30 minutes (plus 48 hours for pickling)

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 to 3 cups cherries, stemmed (fresh or frozen, unsweetened)

Directions

  1. Use a peeler to make ribbons of orange peel. Cut the orange in half and juice the halves into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the water, cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick, and 1/2 cup of the orange juice (discard any extra) and stir to mix well. Bring the pickling liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the liquid to cool for at least 20 minutes, or longer if you're using plastic containers.
  3. Use a knife to cut a small X in the bottom of each cherry. Stuff the cherries and the orange peel ribbons into a two-cup heatproof container. Set aside.
  4. When the liquid is lukewarm to the touch, pour it into the container, covering the cherries. (If there is not enough liquid, add a bit more balsamic vinegar.) Put the lid on the container and close tightly. Give the container five or six good shakes to mix up all the pickling juices, then put it in the refrigerator to cool.
  5. In 48 hours, the cherries will be ready. Resist the urge to taste before then—the longer you wait, the more pickled they'll be. When they're ready, try to finish them off within two weeks .

Note: If you have extra cherries, don't panic. The ones in the container will shrink a little in the warm liquid, so when there's extra space, add the leftover cherries. You can also try using different spices, like fresh ginger and star anise, to change the flavor and give more pop to these pickles.

Check out more great low-sodium recipes from Jessica Goldman Foung with her book Low-So Good: A Guide to Real Food, Big Flavor, and Less Sodium. Follow Jessica on social at @sodiumgirl.