Recipe: Sweet & Spicy Fermented Cherry Salsa

Cherry season is the perfect time to try this sweet and spicy cherry salsa, a scrumptious dipping salsa or flavorful condiment to top various dishes.

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: Stephanie Thurow

Take advantage of cherry season before it’s over and make yourself a batch of this scrumptious sweet and spicy cherry salsa. Enjoy this salsa with corn chips, or as a condiment to top your tacos, eggs or other proteins. 

Yield: 1 quart jar


  • 3 cups fresh sweet cherries (pits removed), chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1.5 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Mix prepared ingredients together and transfer to a clean quart canning jar. If you have a small fermentation jar weight, add it to the jar to hold down the produce.

Wipe off the rim of the jar with a clean dampened towel. Add the canning jar lid and tightly screw on the ring.

Read more: Picking cherries is an enjoyable community-building experience.


This is a very short ferment, with the duration being between 12-48 hours. The salsa is delicious after it’s mixed together, but as it ferments, the flavors grow and meld together.

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Ferment at room temperature, ideally between 60 to 75 degrees F (15 to 23 degrees C), and keep out of direct sunlight. 

Taste test after 12 hours to determine if the fresh flavors have transformed enough to your liking. If not, let it go another day or day and a half and taste test again.

Once fermentation is complete, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. This ferment is best enjoyed within 2 weeks.

Read more: These 10 tips make getting started with fermentation a breeze!

Side Notes

If you don’t want spice in your cherry salsa, remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeños, or omit them all together. If you want a spicier salsa, substitute the jalapeño for a habanero or other spicy pepper.

You may substitute fine sea salt instead of coarse kosher salt if you prefer. Tthe measurement will remain the same for this recipe.

This recipe has been adapted from WECK Small-Batch Preserving with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

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