Just under a year ago I tried balsamic pickled cherries for the first time. It's not a totally unexpected combination, but the idea of pickling cherries instead of just preserving them in jam or syrup was new to me. I only ate one. That's all it took. I found myself headed to the store, with no recipe in hand, to buy cherries only a few hours later.
I made a beeline to the produce section and the cherry display that had been up since June. Imagine my surprise when I found the entire display- gone. I paused. My shoulders slumped. After a few moments, I began wandering around the produce section looking for cherries. They just moved them, that's all. That's what I was hoping at least, but after 4 laps and no luck, I realized that my timing could not have been worse. That very day, or maybe the day before, the store had roared cherries out of stock. That was it. Cherry season was gone.
You learn form a mistake like that. This year, I started preserving cherries in the first few weeks of summer.
So here it is--one more cherry recipe before they're out of season… preserve the summer!
Balsamic Pickles Cherries
2 cups cherries
1 cinnamon stick
2 allspice berries
3 black peppercorns
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup water
Put the cherries in a 16-oz mason jar with airtight strew-on top. You can pit them if you would like, I leave them whole because I think they're pretty.
Put all ingredients except for cherries in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Pour the warm vinegar mixture, along with the spices, over the cherries. The liquid should cover the cherries. (If it doesn't, bring some extra water to a simmer and add enough to the jar so that the cherries are covered.) Seal the jar with it's lid. Set the jar in a cool dry place for at least 24 hours before serving.
To make the parfait, top a scoop of canned coconut cream (available in most asian grocery stores), with a cherry and a drizzle of the brine. The cherries are also great on ice cream, in salad, on an antipasto board, or by themselves.
Tip: After you've eaten the cherries, save the brine to use in salad dressings.