Cherry and Green Peppercorn Vinaigrette | CUESA

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Cherry and Green Peppercorn Vinaigrette


Eric Tucker, Millennium Restaurant.

This year’s rains hit California ’s cherry orchards hard. During blossoming and fruiting came deluge after deluge. When flowers were ready to be fertilized, wet pollen could not travel. Cold weather and cloudy skies reduced productivity and slowed ripening. Then the skins of some almost-ready cherries split last week as the fruit beneath them swelled with water from what we hope was the last rain of spring. Tardy and scarcer than orchardists hoped, cherries have hit the market — and they’re delicious. The farmers that sell at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market grow over 35 varieties of the small stone fruits and you’ll likely find one of them in the market until late June or even early July this year. Cherries are a perfect snack fruit for out-of-hand eating, but are also great in all sorts of dishes. Below is a cherry salad dressing and some tips on freezing cherries so you can enjoy them later in the year.


2 cups cherries (your choice of variety), pitted and sliced in quarters
1 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 teaspoons crushed dried green peppercorns
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon orange zest
Salt to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients and let macerate for one hour before using.

  2. Suggestions: Dress slices of roasted beets and carrots with the vinaigrette, drizzle with a nut oil, and garnish with chopped nuts. You can also try it with avocado and greens. Use as a marinade for vegetables before grilling or roasting.

To freeze cherries
Wash in ice water, halve and pit, lay flat on a baking sheet, and put in the freezer. Once the cherries are frozen, pack them in plastic bags and stick them back in the freezer.

Cherries can also be halved, pitted, packed in a syrup containing lemon and then frozen if you want them to retain their color.

Firm, dark colored varieties freeze best. Thawed cherries probably won’t be very good for out-of-hand eating but are great for cooking.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »