Cherry Salsa


The prettiest cherries I’ve ever seen was on a drizzly day in Trier, Germany. Coincidentally, the white asparagus was at its peak as well! This is a photo from 2006, while walking through a square on our way to lunch, where I failed miserably attempting to speak German and read the menu!

Later on this trip, we visited the Schwarzwald, or the Black Forest region of Germany, known for Schwarzwald Torte, or Black Forest cake. At the Black Forest open-air museum we ran in to these ladies wearing their bollenhut.

The tradition is that the hats/bonnets with the giant cherry-red woolen bobbles must be worn while ladies are single. After the point they are married, they get to switch to a black version. I think I would have just moved to a different part of Germany.

Recently I was lucky enough to pick cherries from a friend’s trees. As I mentioned when I posted on the baked goat brie topped with roasted cherries, I wanted to create recipes for these fabulous fresh cherries that went beyond the basic cherry pie. That’s when I decided on cherry salsa.


Now I know that I’m the first to gripe when terms are loosely used in the culinary world – words like confit, coulis, pesto, and yes, salsa. But it’s the only word I could think of to describe this lovely seasonal condiment.

It not cooked like a chutney, and it’s not a sauce. It is similar to the fresh tomato salsa I make in the summer, which really is a salsa, and also the cranberry salsa I make for the holidays. I used fresh cherries,orange, cilantro, shallots and ginger. It has zing, a freshness, some tartness and sweetness.

Use it with any kind of meat and poultry, just like you would a chutney or cranberry sauce. Here’s what I did.


Fresh Cherry Salsa

1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 shallot, minced
1 slice of ginger, approximately 1″ in diameter x 1/4″ thick, minced
Zest of 1 small orange
Juice of 1/2 orange
1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon agave, if cherries are tart
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cayenne
2 cups cherries, halved if they’re large

Combine the cilantro, shallot, ginger, and zest in a bowl. Add the liquids, the salt and cayenne.

Then add the cherries and stir gently to combine. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

I love using sesame seed oil, and I thought it would enhance the shallot, ginger, orange and cayenne.

Serve at room temperature.


I served the cherry salsa with a simple roast chicken and butternut squash.


The flavors are spectacular.


70 thoughts on “Cherry Salsa

  1. Lovely post Mimi! The photos and story from Germany are great. Those hats! Your idea for making salsa from the cherries is brilliant and I think it’s fine to use the ‘salsa’ term. I make a fresh mango salsa to go with griddled tuna.

  2. Those cherries look fantastic as does the salsa. I could pretty much guarantee that I would’ve had a stomachache because I don’t know when to stop eating them ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’

  3. Oh, you were so close to where I live! Totally agree with you – I would move to another area if I had to wear a hat declaring my relationship status…
    I love your picture with the cherries in the bowl by the window – gorgeous shot!

    • Then you live in a beautiful part of Germany. Although I thought every part we went to was beautiful as well. Can you imagine having to wear those hats?!!!

  4. Mimi, I just drove by the Black Forest today on my way to the airport in Frankfurt. The Black Forest is becoming quit a culinary destination , many new chefs are trying regional cuisine.
    As to the cherry salsa, that’s brilliant. I love cherry sauce so why not cherry salsa. Thanks and have a great week,

    • Oh my goodness that must have been exhilarating! Such beautiful forests. When we went to Germany we landed in Frankfurt then stayed in St. Goar. A lovely start to a magnificent trip!

  5. Those hats are ridiculous. I can see why you’d rather move!
    I like your idea to use cherries, although I’d replace the cilantro with something else. When you leave the cherries whole like that, to me it’s perhaps more a cherry salad than salsa (in which I would expect chopped or minced cherries).

    • I wouldn’t have done well 100 years ago anywhere! I know you don’t love cilantro but I was kind of playing with the Asian theme. Parsley would be good, too. Salad, salsa. I don’t know. Cucumber and tomato salad, used as a condiment, is chopped. All of these terms are loosely used, so I think it’s more about the ingredients. And these cherries were small.

  6. Oh how yummy!! I never in a million years would have thought about a cherry salsa but this sounds WONDERFUL!! I love cherries and this will have to go on the to make soon list. Oh and I totally agree about those poor women in the cherry hats… I would have moved to another part of Germany too!!

  7. I concocted a Middle Eastern variant of a cherry sauce the other week. That was pretty good, but didn’t have the brightness of fresh cherries.
    I love the look and description of your salsa. Will try to make it while cherries are still in season.
    Greetings from Pforzheim, Germany, the northern gate to the Black Forest.
    Best wishes, Alex

  8. Oh how we loved the markets in that area of Germany, especially the Freiburg one. Despite (like you) totally mangling the German language. Too many letters in every word. ;) Lovely cherries!

      • So funny! I started earlier to tell you that Steve practiced for a similar time to say: “Please grind this coffee for paper cone filter.” And the guy was like, “What?? Oh, you want it ground for paper cone filter” โ€” of course in perfect English.

  9. The salsa looks delicious. I have a theory that the hats were to scare off men from other regions so they could keep the gene pool nice and small. Oops, was that too mean?

  10. I love fruit salsas! And cherries work particularly well. Haven’t made a cherry salsa for ages, but I happen to have some cherries in the house. Hmmm . . . :-) Fun read, great pictures — thanks.

  11. Just lost my comment! It wouldn’t post unless I logged in or something. Great that you now have the .com – I can click on your link and now come straight across to your blog. Loved this post with its interesting story. How fortunate to be able to pick your own cherries – that is something I’ve never done. I must try to find some white asparagus when it’s next in season – it’s quite difficult to source xx

  12. What a wonderful post, and such a delicious recipe! It seems quite fitting that I should stumble across your post for a cherry recipe, as I’ve just started a new business and blog selling handmade and luxury food from Belgium, and the first product I’ve talked about is cherries!

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