Pickled Sour Cherries
(credit to "A Year in Niagara - the People and Food of Wine Country" Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh)
Our 90 year old mother tells me she used to make pickled sour cherries to put out at Christmas. They certainly have a Christmas, cold day, snowy day, wintery warmth smell to them when you are making them. I think, come December, you will be happy you "put these up".
The author sees them another way "These make a lovely addition to antipasto platters, with prosciutto and other cold meats, with cheese courses or with good pates, in place of the usual gherkins or silverskin onions".
2 lb (900 g) sour cherries
2 cups (475 ml) white wine vinegar
2 cups (457 ml) red wine vinegar
2.5 cups (535 ml) light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 heaping Tbsp (17 ml) pickling salt
6 juniper berries, crushed
zest of 1 lemon, cut into fine strips
2 - inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon, broken into pieces.
Sort through the cherries, discarding any that are bruised or otherwise damaged. Trim the stems to about 1/4 inch (.6 cm). Rinse and dry thoroughly. Have ready 4 sterilized pint jars. Using a needle, prick the cherries several times, then pack them into jars, filling the jars to about an inch (2.5 cm) below the rim.
In a stainless steel saucepan, combine the vinegars, sugar, salt, cloves, juniper berries, lemon zest and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to help dissolve the sugar and salt. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cherries, making sure each jar gets a bit of lemon, cloves, cinnamon and juniper berries. Wipe the rims clean and fix the lids. Place in a dry, dark cupboard for about a month before using. Use within three months. (Alternatively, seal the jars according to jar manufacturer's directions and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes).
Go here to see me do it!