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Pickled Cherries for Christmas


With the cherry season now upon us, preserver of “granny skills” Rebecca Sullivan shares her recipe for pickled cherries, the first of our festive recipes in the lead-up to Christmas.

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“Pickled cherries are perfect with your Christmas ham or on the cheese board,” says Sullivan, a self-taught cook, sustainable food writer and avid pickler.

“I have even mixed them into my ice cream and trifles.”


Rebecca Sullivan. Photo: supplied

Sullivan runs a food business called Dirty Girl Kitchen, which is all about sharing and passing on the food skills of earlier generations. She is running a hands-on pickling workshop on December 5 at the Market Shed on Holland, where participants will learn to pickle all kinds of foods.

Here, Sullivan shares her recipe for pickled cherries.

“Like most great pickles, the longer you leave them the better they taste. I would make them now just in time for Christmas Day.

“Pickled Cherries store for up to a year or two in a dry, dark place and once opened in the fridge for a month.

“Save a couple for your favourite cocktail, too.”

Pickled Cherries


1 kg of South Australian cherries
6 strips orange zest
350g (1 ½ cups) caster sugar (use brown sugar for a stronger flavour)
500ml (2 cups) apple cider or white wine vinegar
180ml (¾ cup) water
10 cloves
2cm piece of fresh ginger, smashed
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cardamom pods, bruised


Wash cherries. Remove stems and pits. Keep the cherries whole and set aside or pip them if you prefer – I like them better with no pips.

Combine all the ingredients (except the cherries) in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cherries and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until cherries are tender.

Spoon cherries into sterilised jars, leaving ¼ inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Ladle hot cooking liquid over cherries, leaving ¼ inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars. Apply bands and adjust to fingertip tight. If processing jars in water bath, do so for 10 minutes.

For more information about Sullivan’s Pickle Day, contact

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