Pickled Cherries and cherry waste hacks
Cherries are the fanciest fruit on the Christmas table, and we love eating them by the fistful when they’re in season. Sweet, tart and a bit peppery, our favourite way to preserve cherries is to pickle them! Delicious serves with the Christmas ham, with cheeses, through salads or in a cocktail. Buy a box and make everyone gifts.
Plus we've included our top tips for what to do with the pips leftover from jam or pie making. And did you know you can make tea from cherry stems?
Sweet Pickled Cherries
makes 4 x medium size jars
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup water
1-2 cups caster sugar (depending on how tart you want them to be)
Whole spices of your choice: bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice, ginger, mustard seeds, cinnamon, chilli flakes, star anise, cloves etc
Sterilise your jars, then make the pickling brine by putting vinegar, water and sugar into a saucepan over low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar then increase heat and bring to simmering point then turn off the heat.
Place a few teaspoons of whole spices into the bottom of each jar then carefully pack washed cherries in. Make sure to pack cherries in tightly without breaking the skins. Carefully pour the hot brine over the cherries to completely cover. Let the cherries soften in the hot liquid for a few minutes, as the cherries blanch they will shrink and you will be able to pack more fruit into the jar. Remove air bubbles with a knife or chopstick then wipe rim of jar with a clean cloth and seal immediately. Allow to cool and then store in the fridge for up to 3 months. Let sit for at least a week or two before eating.
If you want to make to gift the cherries or make last for in the pantry up to a year, heat process the jars for 15 minutes and then store in a cool dark place. Store in the fridge once open for up to 6 months.
Cherry Waste Hacks
Cherry Pip Vinegar:
Hold onto all the pips after you've made a cherry pie or jam - they make a delicious waste hack vinegar! Place cherry pips in a clean jar and cover with apple cider vinegar, a few teaspoons of sugar, a pinch of sugar and some peppercorns or chilli flakes. Leave to sit on your bench top for a few weeks, tasting every so often. Once the flavour has infused, strain the pips and pour into a clean bottle or jar. This makes a delicious salad dressing vinegar, or add it to marinades and dipping sauce.
Cherry Stem Tea:
Cherry stems are full of flavour and have detoxifying properties. Steeping dried cherry stems in boiling water will make a gentle anti-inflammatory tea. Spread cherry stems out on a tray and dry for a few days in a sunny airy place in the kitchen or pop into a low oven. Once completely dry, store in a jar or container. To make tea add a few tablespoons of cherry stems to a small pot of boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes, then allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Add a little honey or sugar and a squeeze of lemon.