Tuesday, August 2, 2011

a cherry balsamic vinegar recipe for summerfest?

it is cherry week at summerfest. i am guessing my fellow bloggers will post many recipes for pies, crisps, ice cream toppings, cookies, compote, jubilee, in brandy, salads and possibly dishes including pork or chicken with cherry sauces. i plan to try as many of them as possible because i love cherries and their season is almost over. i'm always looking for new cherry ideas... trust me, there will be a treasure trove of excellent ways to use cherries in this roundup.

today i almost wrote about my cherry clafoutis dish. (try this one from the joy of baking).  this simple, easy dessert is perfect for summer days when you don't want to spend a lot of time making something delicious...but, at the last moment, i decided to take a bit of a different approach. it is mid-summer and my thoughts have been turning toward preserving as much of the season's bounty as possible. don't get me wrong, i am eating as much fresh fruit and vegetables as i can. but i am also painfully aware of just how fast this season is whizzing by. it will be fall before you know it and canning, freezing or pickling my favorite summer produce is my way of coping. my weekly csa box has included these amazing italian green beens called romano beens, so i am canning them into "dilly beans".  i have a ton of cucumbers, so pickles are on the to do list.  loads of cherries?  cherry balsamic vinegar is the perfect solution.

fruit balsamics are easy to make, last for a year and require no cooking.  their intense sweet and tangy flavor works perfectly drizzled over ice cream, in marinades, added to salsa, mixed with extra virgin olive oil for a wonderful vinaigrette, splashed over roasted pork or simply poured over fresh fruit. incredibly versatile and amazingly good.

my recipe includes only three items...so it is vital that you use the best quality possible ingredients:  local, organic/sustainably grown cherries, authentic balsamic vinegar from modena and a vanilla bean for a touch of sweetness.  one note regarding the balsamic...check the label.  real balsamic is from modena or reggio emilia, italy and made from the concentrated juice and must of white grapes...usually trebbiano... and then aged in a series of wooden barrels called a batteria.  many commercial balsamics contain added sugar, coloring and other types of vinegars.  there is a difference in taste, and i find the commercial versions bitter and a bit "off" .  as always, i urge you to go for the real stuff...it is so worth it.  note...you don't need the super aged (and wickedly expensive) ones...just look for a balsamic aged around 4 years.  perfect for this recipe.

balsamic 1/2 filled to show off the beautiful cherries

one last point...i have made this recipe for years and always store the infusing vinegar and the finished product in my pantry... i use excellent quality ingredients, sterilize my jars, keep them in a cool dark place and have never had a problem with spoilage.  if you want to be 100% safe, store this in the refrigerator. either way...make this before cherry season is over.  you will be able to taste summer all year long.
when finished filling, balsamic will come to the top of the jar

cherry balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 cups pure balsamic vinegar from modena
1 cup organic ripe cherries
1 vanilla bean

1.  pour the balsamic vinegar into a large, dry, sterilized jar with a tight fitting lid. (like a canning jar)

2.  reserve 6 cherries and set aside.  stem the rest. using a large chef's knife, gently crush the cherries to release their juice and add to the balsamic in the jar. (yes, pits and all)
3.  split the bean lengthwise and, using a paring knife, scrape out the seeds. add the seeds and the bean pod to the cherry/balsamic mixture. 

4.  add the reserved whole cherries, cover the jar with the lid and...for safety...place in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. (or read my note about the pantry) the longer it sits the more intense the cherry flavor.

5.  line a sieve/strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth and pour in the cherry balsamic. reserve the 6 whole stemmed cherries.  pour the vinegar into dry sterilized bottles, add the 6 whole cherries (1 or 2 to each bottle) and seal with self closures or corks. store the bottles in a cool, dark place. (or, as noted earlier, for maximum safety in the refrigerator).  the cherry balsamic will keep for up to 1 year.

now it is your turn to participate in summer fest. simply leave your cucumber tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below, and then go visit food network and do the same same. join the conversation on twitter at #cookingwith and be sure to check out all the other participating bloggers. their recipes sound amazing!

What’s Gaby Cooking: Cherry Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Cherry Cornmeal Cake
Cooking With Elise: Roasted Cherries with Lavender and Almond Panna Cotta
Daydreamer Desserts: Cherry Crumble Cake
Ingredient Challenge Monday: Black Forest Ice Cream Done Two Ways
Spices and Aroma: Dilkush with Cherries
And Love It Too: Cherry-Pecan Chicken Salad
FN Dish: The Ultimate Cherry Pie
Daily*Dishin: Simple French Cherry Clafouti
Glory Foods: Collard Greens and Cherry Reduction
Chez Us: Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis
Virtually Homemade: Dark Chocolate Cherry Kuchen
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Cherry Conserves
The Sensitive Epicure: Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Clafouti
Cooking Channel: Very Cherry Sangria
Zaika Zabardast: Balsamic Cherry and Peach Crisp
Mooshu Jenne: Rainier Cherry Panna Cotta
Food2: A Very Cherry Recipe Round-Up
Virtually Vegan Mamma: Fresh Cherry and Almond Scones
CIA Dropout: Italian Cherry Cake
Sweet Life Bake: Honey-Tequila Pickled Cherries
Cooking With Books: Cherry Cooler
Recipe Girl:  Cherry Limeade Pound Cake


diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885
"live a green life of style™ "
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Virtually Vegan Mama said...

This sounds so delicious and easy to make, I'm definitely going to give it a try =)

Elise Johnson said...

The simplest ingredients make the most beautiful creations. Thank you for sharing. Can't wait to make this! I have everything I need in my pantry. What a wonderful gift idea, too!

Robin said...

I paid almost $20 for a bottle of fruit balsamic vinegar in a store in Napa. I made this today for a lot less and I love knowing I made it myself. Thanks for the recipe.

Miss Meghan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
meghan @ scratch-made wife said...

Now I need to find a vanilla bean. This looks so good! (And, yes, I was the commenter who signed in with the wrong account and deleted my comment two seconds ago. Oops!)

Radhika @ foodfor7stages said...

Sounds fantastic. Cherries must add great flavor to the Balsamic vinegar

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks jen, let me know how you use the balsamic...

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

totally agree elise. i love the idea of giving this for gifts. i think i am going to also make some with raspberry, with fig and with cranberry and give all 4 for holiday gifts this year...

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi robin, don't you love it when you can make something yourself that tastes/look delicious and also saves $$ ?

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi scratch! no worries on the deletion...find that vanilla bean so you can make this easy-breezy recipe. enjoy!

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

radhika, cherries and balsamic are delicious together...give the recipe a try. btw, your soup sounds amazing..thanks for posting...

LeLo said...

These look sooooo good. I love the infused vinegars, bt haven't done a balsamic. Since I seem to be unable to stop eating the fresh cherries this year because they are so good, it only makes sense to make this balsamic. Thank you!

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi lelo...hope all is well. let me know if you try the cherry/balsamic!

Lois B said...

I'll have to try this! I live in Poland, so last year I made cherry infused vodka.

The Cooking and Life Goddess said...

Great recipe! I'm right there with you, vinegar is so versatile - one way or another I use it in all my recipes, but i hadn't thought of cherries and they are the 'in' fruit of the moment health wise! Excellent post thkq :D

Unknown said...

You commented that you were going to make some with fig and also with raspberry, these sound amazing. Do you have the recipes for those? Are they virtually the same as this cherry one?

Sheila said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bola online said...

Now I need to find a vanilla bean. This looks so good! (And, yes, I was the commenter who signed in with

Judi Online