Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pickled Cherries

Talk about an interesting pickle! Sweet, sour and lightly spiced, this pickle has made a welcome home in our preserve pantry. They're definitely unusual but delicious nonetheless. I used allspice in all the jars to flavour them, but also made a few jars with clove and black pepper, and a few with whole vanilla beans as well. So far we've only tried the clove, black pepper and allspice but the next jar we open will definitely be the vanilla.

Makes about 9 1/2 pint jars

2 pounds pitted cherries
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
assorted preferred spices  (about a 1/2-1 teaspoon for each jar)

Sterilize the jars by boiling them in the canning pot for 10 minutes. Leave them in there until your ready to fill them. Put the lids in a heatproof bowl nearby. 

In a pot combine the vinegar, water and the salt. Bring to just a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. 
Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl containing the lids. Remove jars from pot (pouring water back into pot) and place nearby on a kitchen towel. Drain water off lids. 

Divide spices amongst the bottoms of each hot jar. Pack the cherries in the jars and ladle the hot brine into the jars leaving 1/2" headspace. Use a chopstick to remove air bubbles. Wipe rims clean with damp paper towel, place lid on top and screw on ring just finger tight. Return jars to canning pot and make sure water covers jars by 1". Bring water to boil and boil for 10 minutes to process. Remove jars, place on kitchen towel and don't disturb for 12 hours. If after one hour any lids have not sealed (if it can be pushed down, it's not sealed) refrigerate immediately. Label and store the sealed jars in a cool dark place.
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