Pickled Rainier Cherries

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Our daughter loves pickles.  Of course she likes dill pickles, but really anything pickled she relishes.  We’ve also recently discovered how much she likes Rainier cherries.  I mean, who can blame her, they are my favorite cherry too.  We’ve lucked out this year because normally they are the most expensive cherry but they’ve been on sale a ton this summer.  Rainiers are local to Washington, so if you’ve never had one they are sweeter than a bing or red cherry and just have a luscious juicy texture.  They are also a lovely yellow and red color.   I like the idea of extending the life of these beauties and pickling is the way to go!  I am a fan of pickling (see here, here, and here) so I just had to give it a try.

So let’s get to it.

This recipe calls for the cherries to be pitted because they will absorb more of the flavor of the pickling liquid (an added bonus is they are easier for our daughter to eat!).  If you don’t have a cherry pitter or just don’t feel like pitting them, you can use the whole cherries.  Just know they won’t absorb as much flavor so will end up a little sweeter.  Start by putting the cherries in a quart mason jar or other container that is heat-proof and has a lid. 

Aren’t they pretty

Add the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and lemon peel to a small pan.  I kept the peel in strips, rather than zesting it so that the pieces didn’t cling to cherries when you pull them out to eat.

Cook that over medium heat until it starts to boil and all the sugar is dissolved.

Now pour the liquid over the cherries in the jar.

Once it’s cooled, put the lid on and store in the fridge.  They will last up to 2 weeks.

These cherries are obviously a great addition to your snack dinner and/or cheese board.  They would also be nice in a salad.  I think they would be tasty chopped finely (almost like a relish) and used as a condiment on a chicken sandwich or veggie burger.  I would also be tempted to try them on a chicken and waffle situation.  Anyway, as you can see the possibilities are endless!




Pickled Rainier Cherries
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  • 4 cups pitted Rainier cherries
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon


  1. Put cherries in a quart container.
  2. Cook water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and lemon peel in a small pan over medium heat until it starts to boil and sugar is dissolved.
  3. Pour liquid over cherries
  4. Once cooled, cover and store in fridge.

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