Pickled Cherries & Cherry Vinegar


Ranee Mueller

From Fancy Pantry:

Cherries in a Sweet Nine Day Pickle

2 pounds ripe, but firm sweet or sour cherries
3 cups distilled white vinegar, or slightly more if needed
4 cups sugar

1. Rinse, stem and pit the cherries; you should have about seven cups.

2. Combine the cherries with the vinegar in a half gallon glass jar or
a ceramic or stainless steel bowl, being sure the fruit is covered with
vinegar; if necessary, add more. Cover the container tightly and let it
stand three days in a cool spot.

3. Drain off the vinegar and, if you like, reserve it for either Cherry
Vinegar or Four-Fruit Vinegar, or add another batch of cherries to it
for a second round of pickling.

4. Layer half the cherries with half the sugar in each of two
sterilized quart size canning jars, finishing with sugar. Wipe the lips
of the jars and cap them with sterilized new two-piece lids; do not
screw the lids down tightly enough to seal them, as you want to remove
them later. Set the jars in a cool spot where you'll remember to shake
them gently every day or so, inverting them a few times as you shake.
At the end of a few days (original family recipe allowed nine days), the
sugar will have disappeared into the syrup.

5. Transfer enough cherries and syrup from one jar to fill the other
almost to the rim, and transfer the remaining quantity to a sterilized
pint canning jar. Cap again, tightly this time, with sterilized new
two-piece lids; label the jars and store them in a cool, dark spot. The
cherries will look shriveled and the syrup will seem far too abundant at
this point; just let everything rest for about a month, and the fruit
will absorb most of the syrup and plump up considerably. Refrigerate
the cherries after a jar is opened.

Cherry Vinegar

2 pounds firm-ripe sweet or sour cherries
3 cups white wine vinegar, rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar

1. If you are making Cherries in a Sweet Nine Day Pickle, rinse stem
and pit the cherries for that recipe and follow it through step 3.

2. If you are intent on cherry vinegar only, rinse, stem and crush the
cherries listed above. Combine them with the vinegar in a sterilized
dry 2-quart jar or crock, being sure they are well covered; if not, add
a little more vinegar. Cover the crock and leace the cherries to steep
for a week to 10 days.

3. Drain the vinegar from either batch of fruit. If you're making
pickled cherries, proceed with step 4 of that recipe. (Optionally,
instead of proceeding directly to the next step below, you may want to
add to the strained off vinegar a second batch of fruit and steep it
three days, then drain off the vinegar to use here and proceed with the
pickle recipe plus step 4 below.) If you're making vinegar alone,
proceed with step 4 below.

4. Strain the vinegar through a fine sieve, no need to line it, into a
stainless steel or enameled saucepan, pressing on the pulp to obtain all
the liquid. Discard the debris in the strainer. Add the sugar to the
vinegar and heat the mixture just to simmering over medium heat; simmer
it, uncovered, for three minutes. Cool the vinegar.

5. Skim off any foam and strain the vinegar into one or more
sterilized, completely dry bottles. For ultra-clear vinegar, before
bottling, you may want to filter it through a dampened filter paper
fitted into a coffeemaker cone or a funnel. Cap or cork the bottles
(use new corks only) and store in a cool spot out of the light. If
sediment should form, it is harmless; it can be removed by filtering the
vinegar again, or by decanting it.

I cannot find the method for the brandied cherries, but I remember it
was whole cherries, stemmed, poked with a skewer and packed into a jar,
cover with good quality brandy and seal with the lid. Leave for at
least three months before using, I waited a year.


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