The Sour Pucker of Pickled Sweet Cherries

Sweet Pickled Cherries

Pickled Sweet Cherries are not so strange. At least not to me. The older I get the more and more I like pickled things. Especially unexpected pickled things. Things like pickled sweet cherries.

But Pickled Sweet Cherries are not so strange. At least not to Thomas Keller. The older he gets the more he and I have in common. For example he’s a genius and I recognize that he’s a genius. See how much we have in common?

All teasing aside. I was first introduced to Pickled Sweet Cherries through his book The French Laundry Cookbook. He serves his pickled sweet cherries with an elegant Moulard Duck Foie Gras au Torchon. I’ve even had a similar version of foie gras served to me with pickled sweet cherries, though not by Thomas Keller. My point is, the sweet pucker of pickled cherries is a terrific replacement for for the puckery pucker of cornichons. Especially when served alongside something like foie gras– which is a rather complicated culinary achievement. But pickled sweet cherries are also excellent sitting next to very good salumi. Something you can purchase and serve at home, making for an extremely simple yet thoroughly elegant appetizer. 

I’m choosing to go somewhere between the complex (and illegal in California) foie gras and the simple salumi from my butcher’s counter. I’m going to make a pâté to serve with my crimson flavor bombs. But you’re just going to have to wait for that one. You can’t expect me to put both recipes in one post. So consider the pâté a sequel in the making. GREG

P.S. I know that many people will be up in arms about the cherry pits and cherry stems. But I promise they add tannins– which really balance the acidity in this recipe.


pickled cherries

Pickled Cherries

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1 pintPublished

Can be made 1 month ahead. Keep refrigerated. Strain before serving.

pickled cherries


  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 10 cardamom pods roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 pound fresh cherries unpitted with stems, preferably


Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, peppercorns, cardamom, and red pepper flakes to a boil in a medium stainless-steel saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 5 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain into a medium bowl; return liquid to pan. Add cherries to the saucepan. Simmer until cherries are tender, 3–5 minutes. Transfer cherries and to a pint-sized mason jar. Pour in enough pickling liquid to cover cherries. Cover and chill.