If I say fruit preserves, perhaps you picture a sticky jar of strawberry jam or a chock-full container of apple butter. But fruit preserves can be salty too. The process is arguably even easier, since there’s no cooking involved. And the result is versatile enough to deploy in breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

My first experience with salted fruit was preserved lemons. I never thought about applying the technique to other ingredients until tasting umeboshi, Japanese pickled plums. Now I salt-cure all sorts of fruit, from plums and apricots to cherries and blueberries. It’s a wonderful way to extend summer’s bounty beyond September.

Though there are some outliers, depending on the ingredient, the method is roughly the same: Halve or quarter the fruit. Remove the seeds or pits. Pack a layer into a big clean container (for me, that’s a half-gallon glass jar sterilized in the dishwasher). Cover with salt (either kosher salt or sea salt, just avoid table salt). Then add another layer and repeat until you’re out of either fruit or space in the jar. The salt will leach the liquid from the fruit and make a brine.

The fruit should sit in that brine for about a week, until the fruit is firm and the color has darkened by a couple shades. If your kitchen is especially warm, this process will move along more swiftly, so keep an eye out. I like to tip the jar upside down a couple times every couple days to be sure the fruit is evenly coated in the brine. Even a bit of attention seems to improve the end result. After the fruit is cured, store it in the fridge in an airtight jar; it will keep for up to one month.

Photograph by Isa Zapata

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