Home Recipes Sweet Cherry Pickles: Flavorful Tickles

Sweet Cherry Pickles: Flavorful Tickles

Sweet Cherry Pickles: Flavorful Tickles


Five pints of sweet cherry pickles: jewels in a jar.

I must confess, I get a very big kick out of an official moniker bestowed  upon me each year, or at least for as long as the Washington State Fruit Commission sees fit to honor my love of preservation. I am a “Canbassador,” an emissary for preserving the flavor and beauty of the season one cherry, peach, apricot and plum at a time. (Hey, hold the snickers, and show a little respect, please.)

Pucker up my esteemed home canners! This black cherry recipe is quite the tongue tickler with a richness only a black cherry could yield, and a finish that’s both sweet and tart.

While I don’t have to wear a satin chest sash, top hat or tails, I prefer to wear my love of Washington state fruit on my sleeve. And that my friends, is second nature. For the most part, I receive a box of Washington state cherries, with a request, “Show us what you can do with these!” Well, the first order of business is to eat a two-pound bag in one sitting, the second is to pore over some vintage cookbooks for some worthy preserving recipes. 

This year I wanted to share an easy-to-make-recipe, that’s old school pickling preservation with a new twist (or stem as the case may be) using fresh cherries for the pickling fruit.

With hand as lid, shake the jars to move the fresh cherries down in the jar before adding liquid.

The full recipe is coming up, but essentially you jar up some fresh cherries, pour a spicy little concoction of vinegar, sugar and water over the cherries, seal the tops, pop the jars into a water bath to simmer, remove and let rest for several weeks before eating to engage the flavors and complete the pickling process. And as sure as Bob’s your uncle, you’ll have some tasty tongue ticklers for your next soiree, meal or snack.

Buddy is bored, not particularly interested in the piquant notes of pickling.

Check out the Washington State Fruit Commission’s SWEET PRESERVATION site for more recipes and tips for saving the flavors of summer. Cherries are here, peaches on deck!

Sweet Cherry Pickles


  • 2lb sweet cherries (whole, stemmed, unpitted)
  • 3 cups white or cider vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
  • 6 sticks cinnamon


Step 1
Place all ingredients except cherries into a saucepan, and bring to low simmer. (Your kitchen will spell pretty dreamy at this point).
Step 2
Stir occasionally and simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat.
Step 3
Using gentle pressure, fill 5 pint jars with fresh whole, unpitted cherries and shake with hand as a cover to move the cherries further down in the jar.
Step 4
Pour heated solution over cherries using strainer and leave about half inch of air space in the jar. Add lid, seal and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.
Step 5
Let them sit in the pantry for a couple weeks to reach full flavor, then refrigerate after opening.


  1. These look much better than the brandied version that exploded in my Hoosier many moons ago. I can’t wait to hit our Wednesday market for the goods and give ’em a try

  2. I’m making these now! I wasn’t sure what to expect (well, I’m still not) but when I added the cloves I was transported (via olfactory transporter) back to my grandmother’s house, where her preserved crab apples were always my favourite. I’ll come back with a review in a few weeks. 🙂

  3. Dear Canbassador,
    Do you think or know from experience if these processed & sealed jars, made now in August, would be ok if kept until Christmas on a dark cool shelf?

      • Hi Sylvia, I’ve made this pickle recipe using plums, in my case Italian prune plums. The result, one delicious sweet sour pickle perfect for eating alone or adding to a meat/cheese sandwich or a plate of cold meats and cheeses. Thumbs up, big time! I halved and pitted the plums due to their larger size and ease of pitting. Good luck, give it a try!

        • Thanks Tom, our plum tree looks like a bumper crop this year, so I’ll add this pickling recipe to my file, make a change from jams and crumbles. Of course it all depends on what the Scottish weather throws at us. xx

  4. Ditto Ellen’s remarks except it was a neighbour who made pickled crabapples with the ones she thought were the loveliest of the bunch- chosen for their unblemished rosy roundness. And how amazing with turkey instead of cranberry sauce! Thank you Tom.

  5. Oh my goodness Tom….you are truly a man after my own heart. Anything pickled has my name on it. Remember the pickled rhubarb you made a while back? We still make them every spring and fall in love with them all over again! Thanks for sharing pickled cherries….what is not to love?

  6. Tom, my (wild) cherries are so teensy I usually leave them to the birds, I have lots of different varieties of other fruits and wondered what you’d think of doing this with plums?


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