Fermented Cherries with Thyme and Black Pepper
We've teamed up with Natural Chef & fermentation expert Nena Foster to bring you a whole load of recipes to really make the most of your wonky veg and freaky fruit. Kicking off with a way to use up those cheeky cherries with a twist on a lovely pairing of sweet summer cherries and florally thyme.
Fermenting sweet fruit creates a ferment that is slightly fizzy that is a perfect balance between sweet and savoury. The thyme and black pepper boost the savoury notes in this ferment making them ideal for use in savoury dishes.
Pair with nice crisp lettuce for a delicious salad but they will equally make a great fizzy addition to yogurt or ice cream or even use the brine as part of a summer cocktail. Remember when making your brine to use pure salt, such as fine Himalayan Pink salt and use a clean, airtight jar.
This recipe uses a 1 L jar, but feel free to split over 2 smaller jars. It is also important to ensure that the veg remains under the brine while it is fermenting. You can weigh the veg down with a cabbage leaf, clean stone, fermentation weight or a small ramekin placed inside the jar.
200g Cherries, stems removed
5-6 Sprigs of thyme
5-6 Black peppercorns
750ml Salt brine (26 g of fine Himalayan Pink Salt and 750ml of filtered water)
Score a little ‘X’ into the top or the bottom of the cherry so that the salty brine can ferment the inner flesh. Leave in the pits, and these can be removed before using.
Place scored cherries in the jar along with the peppercorns and thyme. Make your brine solution by dissolving the salt in just enough boiling water and top up to total 750ml with cold filtered water.
Pour the cool brine over the cherries and thyme. Seal the jar (or 2 smaller jars) and allow the cherries to ferment for 1-2 weeks. The brine will go cloudy and fizzy as the cherries ferment. Store the fermented cherries in the fridge and consume within 1 month.
Don’t’ get rid of your brine! You can use it to flavours salad dressings or soups and can even be used to kickstart another ferment.
Fruit ferments can be feisty (the bacteria love the natural sugars). If you hear hissing from your jar or notice lots of bubbles, flip the latch or loosen the lid to release some of the CO2.