Make a Delicious and Unique Cherry-Nectarine Salsa
Life is just a bowl of cherries—unless you chop ‘em up and add nectarines for a delectable salsa.
Celebrate cherry season with a sweet and spicy salsa that brings out the best of summer fruits, herbs and veggies. Cherries and nectarines ripen in the same window, filling fruit stands with juicy, sumptuous goodness. These fruits blend beautifully in flavor and color. For the freshest fruits, visit your local farmers’ market.
Any type of cherry works in this salsa: Bing, Rainier, Queen Anne or sour (pie) cherries like Montmorency. If you’re able to score local sour cherries, you won’t be disappointed, although you’ll likely need to add a little sweetener to the salsa. When buying cherries, look for plump, unblemished fruits with bright color. Avoid containers that are leaking or stained with cherry juice. That’s a hint that fruits are likely overripe and/or bruised.
To choose the best nectarines, pass over the all-red ones for ones with clearly visible yellow patches or blotches. The stem end should not be green. That’s a sign the fruit is under-ripe. Avoid the smallest (likely under-ripe) or biggest (likely mealy) nectarines. Medium to large fruits deliver the best texture and flavor.
You can easily ripen firm or under-ripe nectarines once you get them home. Simply arrange them, stem side down, on a paper bag, linen napkin or cotton cloth or pillowcase. Keep fruit from touching—give each a little breathing room. Cover them with cloth like cotton or linen, something that breathes. Place fruits in a cool place out of direct sunlight. They should ripen within a week.
Julie Martens Forney
Cherry Nectarine Salsa Ingredients
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and diced (roughly 20-24 Bing or Rainier cherries—we used 12 each for maximum color)
- 1 nectarine, unpeeled, diced
- 1/4 cup minced green onions (include a bit of the green top for color)
- 1/2 cup diced pepper (lime green Aconcagua pepper works great)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime (roughly 1-1/2 - 2 tablespoons)
- sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
These measurements provide a great starting point, but are really approximations. You can add as much of each ingredient as you like, based on the flavor profiles that appeal to you or your family. Make as much or as little salsa as you want simply by adjusting amounts.
- De-stem, pit and roughly chop cherries and nectarine. Finely dice onions, pepper, cilantro and mint. Mix in a bowl.
- Add lime juice. Stir.
- Add salt and pepper, adjusting seasoning to suit your palate.
- Let ingredients sit for 30 minutes for flavors to meld. Stir before serving.
Yield is roughly 4 servings (approximately 1-1/2 cups). Store salsa in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if it lasts that long!). Flavors definitely continue to blend and develop in storage, delivering a delicious, changing bite.
- If you’re using sour cherries, sweeten the salsa by adding honey, agave or brown sugar to taste. Usually 1 tablespoon is a good starting point.
- Substitute basil for mint for a complex, herby bite.
- To add some sizzle, use jalapeno pepper. Include seeds if you really want to bring on the heat.
- Give the salsa a smoky flavor by grilling some of the ingredients first, including the fruit, onions and pepper. To grill, pit and chop cherries and nectarine in half. Toss all ingredients with olive oil. Grill cherries in a basket. Place nectarine halves, whole onion and pepper directly on grates. Grill ingredients until skins bubble and char, turning frequently. Cool and chop ingredients to the dice size you want in the salsa.
Serving Ideas for Cherry Nectarine Salsa
Like any salsa, this cherry nectarine blend is a natural with chips. Go for blue corn, rice or pita chips for a colorful bite, or grab veggie chips like zucchini, kale or beet for a deliciously different taste. If you want to be a little more adventurous in the kitchen, try one of these serving ideas for your summer fresh cherry nectarine salsa.
Taco Tuesday. Fish tacos, that is. Cherry nectarine salsa is a natural with fish. Add it to your taco fixin’ bar to elevate your favorite fish taco.
Pass the chicken. Add zip to same ol’ chicken breasts by topping with a dollop of cherry nectarine salsa. Enhance the flavor combination by marinating breasts with fruit juice (peach or mango is the bomb).
Whip up eggs. Scrambled, quiche, frittata, even over easy—all eggs taste great with this fruity salsa. Add it to eggs just before they’re finished, so it warms slightly, or use it to top the finished dish.
Dress kebabs. Serve cherry nectarine salsa as a dipping sauce for chicken or pork kebabs. Your family will rave over this yummy pairing.
Sweeten sweet potatoes. Bake or grill sweet potatoes in jackets, slice them open, and add cherry nectarine salsa. Top with a dash of feta cheese for pure heaven.
Salmon steaks. This summer fruit salsa enhances the flavor of salmon steaks. Elevate grill night by spooning salsa over finished steaks—and watch it all disappear.
Perfect pork. Shift your pork tenderloin to a five-star dish by topping it with cherry nectarine salsa.
Serve it sweet. Grab some sweet dippers to turn cherry nectarine salsa into a dessert. Try cinnamon chips, simple shortbread or banana chips.