Cherry-flavored vinegar could hardly be easier to make. While you can use whole or chopped cherries to make this, I find that the bits of cherry fruit that cling to the pits contains ample cherry to flavor the vinegar. That said, only use whole, uncracked cherry pits if you decide to go this route (cherry pits have trace amounts of cyanide inside and you wouldn't want poison in your vinegar!).
What to do with it when you're done? Use it to make a wonderfully delicious homemade vinaigrette for a lovely summer salad. Or, I've been known to use it to flavor iced tea or sparkling water, adding sugar to taste.
Note that true cherry vinegar would be made by fermenting cherry juice into cherry wine and then coaxing that to turn into cherry vinegar. That process is not easy and would be a real hassle to make at home. And I cannot tell a lie: that real cherry vinegar would definitely have a deeper, more fruit-like essence than this cherry-flavored vinegar facsimile. If you find true cherry vinegar for sale, buy a bottle!
- 1/2 cup pitted, chopped cherries or 1 cup fresh, whole and uncracked cherry pits*
- 2 cups cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- If you haven't pitted the cherries yet, start there. Do so over a bowl to catch the juices that are bound to drip and drop during the process. Those juices are tasty delicious and stain easily, so you don't want them going to waste and splattering all over the place. (If you're new to cherry pitting, see How to Pit Cherries for easy tips on how to do so without a cherry pitter!)
- Simply put the 1/2 chopped cherries or 1 cup fresh, whole and uncracked cherry pits in a glass jar or other seal-able container (jars are preferably to bottles here since you'll need to get everything out again when you strain the vinegar), fill it with the 2 cups cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, cover, and set aside overnight to let the cherry flavor blend into the vinegar.
- Strain, discard the cherries and/or cherry pits, return the vinegar to the jar or transfer to a bottle, cover or otherwise seal, and store at room temperature for up to a year. Use cherry vinegar in salad dressings, in glazes, or mixed with sparkling water or club soda and a bit of honey or sugar to taste for a refreshing soft drink.
* Again, be sure to use only whole cherry pits and to discard them after the soak. Cherry pits contain cyanide, a poison, and you certainly don't want that in the vinegar.