Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Whole Foods’ Cherry Fest starts Friday

Addie Broyles

You gotta love this time of summer when, week after week, a new fruit hits its peak.

This week, it’s cherries, as evidenced by the $1.99 per pound sale that Whole Foods is hosting on Friday as part of its annual Cherry Fest. Each of the local stores will be hosting special demonstrations and tastings from noon to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. One of the coolest events is a “pit stop” that each store will host between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday where customers can have their cherries pitted and can get tips on freezing and preserving them so they can enjoy them for months to come.

In other Whole Foods news, some of Stephanie McClenny’s Confituras products will be hitting store shelves at the Domain this fall. Which products have yet to be determined, but her wine jelly is at the top of their list.

In the meantime, here is her recipe for pickled cherries.

Stephanie’s Pickled Rainier Cherries

This beautiful sweet and tangy pickle goes well with roasted or grilled meats or your favorite cheese course. Use the leftover brine in vinaigrettes or sauces. Leaving the pits in the cherries will lend a slight almond flavor to the final product.

1 lb. Rainier cherries, pitting optional

2 cups white wine vinegar

1 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)

Pinch kosher salt

1 small bunch tarragon or mexican mint marigold, rinsed and divided

2 Tbsp. pink peppercorns, divided

In a medium saucepan, place vinegar, sugar, salt, a few sprigs of the tarragon or mexican mint marigold, and 1 tablespoon of the pink peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer just long enough for the sugar and salt to dissolve, about a minute or two. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, rinse cherries discarding any with noticeable blemishes – no need to pit them. Trim cherry stems to about ½-inch and the load cherries into clean glass jars. Slip a few blades of tarragon down the sides of the jars and top with 10-12 pink peppercorns (some will fall to the bottom of the jar add distribute themselves naturally).

Pour the brine over the cherries, filling with enough to cover them. Place lid and refrigerate for at least several days so the flavors have a chance to penetrate the fruit. Keeps refrigerated up to year. Makes three to four 8-ounce jars.

— Stephanie McClenny