Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cherry Walnut Relish

Oops. I seem to have missed Farm Fridays this week. Yesterday turned out to be quite a busy day when my usual Friday errands turned into an all-out shopping spree. I spent money on a level that I've never reached before (at least, not in a single day!). Slipping into Sur La Table at the mall for a new tea kettle (I sorta melted the top of the old one) meant getting sucked into several stores having awesome sales and dropping into Sephora to replenish my foundation led me into a long conversation with a saleswoman who evaluated my skin and recommended several products that I really should have been using already (somehow in all these years I never learned about primer). And after months of mostly vain searching for shoes that I can wear with my bulky orthopedic inserts, I hit the jackpot, coming home with five new pairs. The gist of all this is that I spent far more time shopping than originally planned, which didn't get me home in time to make all the dinner recipes I'd had planned. And the stuff we did manage was done before I thought to grab my camera.

But I thought I'd make it up to you with a few of the cherry recipes we worked on last week. Last Saturday Terhune Orchards opened for cherry picking! You may remember that I went last year and blogged about how much fun I had. This year Jeff was available to come along and help, so we planned a big day of cherry picking and canning. Cherry picking is so easy, and cherries are so delicious and tempting, that we picked far more than we'd intended - we brought home thirteen pounds of cherries (see the above picture of our dining room table laden with cleaned and sorted fruit). And by the end of the weekend, most of them had been dispatched in a variety of tasty recipes.

We made this cherry-walnut relish, cherry preserves and almond and sweet cherry galette on Saturday and on Sunday, after I'd realized how much we still had (and fearing we wouldn't get through them before they started to go bad), I obsessively searched through my files and the internet to find more possibilities: brandied cherries, individual cherry crisps and roasted cherry brownies (don't worry - those are the subject of my next post!). The crisps and the brownies were frozen for future consumption, so we will be enjoying cherries for several weeks to come.

This cherry walnut relish was the first project that came to mind when we decided to go cherry picking. When I got my copy of Put 'Em Up a few years ago and prepared to start canning, it was one of the first recipes that caught my eye. I jumped at the chance to do it this year. I chose the most luscious and velvety of the cherry varieties we had (while I divided them all into bags and pint boxes to keep the varieties separate, I of course failed to remember the names of the cherries we'd picked) to go with the richness of the spices and nuts. While cherries are a summer fruit, I thought this sounded like a winter treat, to top pork roasts or a turkey sandwich (I have my heart set on a roasted turkey panini with this relish and some Gruyere some time this fall). I was absolutely right -the tang of the vinegar lends complexity to the rich sweetness of the cherries. Even though the walnuts were added all the way at the end, their flavor manages to permeate the relish as well and the bigger pieces add a nice crunchy texture. I look forward to putting this on many winter sandwiches!

Cherry Walnut Relish
From Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton. 

4 c sweet cherries, stems and pits removed
1 c sugar
1 c cider vinegar
1 onion, diced
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 c crushed walnuts

Add the cherries, sugar and a splash of water to a large, nonreactive pot (I prefer my enameled Dutch oven for all canning activities) and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring and crushing the cherries with a potato masher to help them release their juices.

Add the vinegar, onion and cinnamon stick, stir to combine, and return the mixture to a simmer. Cook until thickened (but not dry), about 20 minutes

Add the walnuts and return to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and take out the cinnamon stick.

Spoon into half-pint canning jars, covering the solids with 1/4" of liquid and leaving 1/4" headspace. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. 


  1. Ooo this is such a fun way to use up some cherries! I think I'd just sit around eating it by the spoonful!

    1. That's always an option around here, too!