Varna and Dobrich Chereshnitsa

Vegetables and vegetable preserves - Bulgaria

Chereshnitsa is a pickled (in Bulgarian: turshia) product made of cherries. Late-season, fully mature fruits from black varieties with dark red flesh are used. The entire fruit is used, along with its stalk or tail. To make chereshnitsa, washed cherries are placed in a glass vessel, which is then filled with water and left for 5 - 6 days in a sunny spot before being moved to a cold storage area. Horseradish root is added, and is said to to prevent splits in the fruits. After their pickling, the fruits are eaten and the remaining pickle juice is consumed as a soft drink with cooling effect. This product has its origins as a method of preservation for fragile cherries. It allowed for short storage of an easy-spoiling fruit. Chereshnitsa is traditional to the Varna and Dobrich districts of eastern Bulgaria. It is produced in homes for family consumption, though it has the potential to be used in restaurants or guesthouses. Today, this product risks being lost due to the introduction of new cherry varieties that provide a year round supply of fresh fruits, making preservation unnecessary. Additionally, this product does not have a very long shelf life - it should be consumed within 20 days - making it difficult to market commercially.