Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries Recipe

July 17, 2014
Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries Recipe | fakefoodfree.com
Last Friday I loaded up on gorgeous Washington State cherries at the Whole Foods one-day sale. By loaded up I mean I bought 10 pounds. I am a sucker for specials on fruit, and cherries freeze well, so I convinced myself to add a few extra bags to my cart.
By Tuesday, I realized my cherry pitting hack of using a hard plastic straw wasn’t going to cut it so I broke down and bought a pitter. By Wednesday, they were all pitted and waiting to either be used or frozen.
I made a double batch of Kentucky Bourbon-Vanilla Soaked Cherries, but I still had about a pint left in the fridge. A pint that was decreasing at the rate of about one cherry per hour every time I opened the fridge and ate one.
I wanted to make something else with these cherries, but I really didn’t want a bunch of baked goods around. Then I spotted a recipe (via Pinterest) this morning for Spiced Quick-Pickled Cherries, which randomly ended up being from Whole Foods as well.


Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries Recipe | fakefoodfree.com
I’d seen recipes for pickled cherries before, but this one convinced me to give them a try. It sparked an idea for my own version. I had some other spices on hand and I really wanted to use star anise because I love the flavor. I also wanted to try using some rich balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar.
This recipe comes together very quickly, but that is only part of it. After you drown the cherries in the spiced, syrupy, vinegar goodness they have to sit in the fridge and you have to wait patiently on the other side of the door.


Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries Recipe | fakefoodfree.com
It was hard work, but I tasted them every few hours because I wanted to know the minimum they could sit to get the best flavor. As a result, I suggest letting them soak for at least 12 hours before serving, and 24 would be even better. They tasted good after just a few hours, but the spiced flavors get stronger and more delicious as they sit.
I’ve been snacking on them straight from the jar, but the original recipe suggests serving pickled cherries with charcuterie and I think that would be an excellent way to use them. Cocktails and ice cream topping come to mind as well.


Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries

Inspired by Spiced Quick-Pickled Cherries
Makes: 1 pint
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
5 cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
¾ cup balsamic vinegar, or enough to fill the jar
1 pint fresh cherries, pitted
Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved the liquid thickens a little.

Add the cardamom, cloves, anise and the cinnamon stick. Stir, remove from the heat and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

Pack the cherries into a clean pint jar, leaving at least a 1-inch head space. Pour the syrup and the spices into the jar. You might need to push the whole spices around to help them fit.

Pour the vinegar into the jar to cover the cherries, leaving a 1-inch head space. Seal the jar with a lid and band. Gently shake it a bit to mix and coat all the cherries.

Place the jar in the refrigerator and give it a shake every few hours, or when you think about it. Let chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours before serving.



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  • Anonymous July 18, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    this looks good, just made it, will try it in a couple days. ;P)

  • Lori July 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Hooray! I hope you like them. I’m still enjoying mine, but they are going fast!

  • Kristy Gardner July 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    OMG Lori! I’ve never heard of pickled cherries but I’m hooked now. I’m absolutely enthralled! I’ll be making these this Summer for sure and pairing them with charcuterie. It’ll be such a treat! And surprise for people. haha.