At last, here’s the cherry post that I promised you a few weeks ago. I may have missed the boat -I’m not even sure that there are any English cherries left but you could always save the recipe for next year.
I’ve often dreamt of having a larder packed with pots of homemade preserves but to be honest I rarely get around to making jams and pickles (and rather sadly I don’t have a larder either). There’s something rather domestic goddess-y about reaching for the homemade bergamot and ginger marmalade when friends pop in for tea. These cherries only take about ten minutes to make and you too could feel that sense of self-satisfaction as you whip out your hand crafted fare.
Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book has a simple recipe for French pickled cherries and I’ve just added some different spices to the mix. The cherries don’t even need to be pitted and I think that they’ll look much prettier served whole on a bit of stalk, so I just trimmed all the stalks to a couple of centimetres.
500 g fresh cherries
500 ml wine vinegar (white or red would be fine)
300 g soft, light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
4 star Anise
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
Pile the cherries into a sterilised jar ( a Kilner jar is ideal otherwise you will need to place some paper between the vinegary liquid and a metal lid).
Heat up the remaining ingredients in the vinegar for about 10 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside the liquid in a non-reactive pan or a glass jar and leave for a few hours, or overnight for the flavours to infuse.
Strain the cooled vinegar over the cherries, making sure that they are completely submerged in liquid. Seal the lid, place in the fridge and leave for at least a week.
I have high hopes for these cherries with a pork pie or some rillettes (now there’s a recipe, I’ll share that one with you later in the year) but they should also be delicious with a bit of good cheese. I’ll let you know.