What Are Cherries?
Cherries are a type of small stone fruit that grows on trees. Cherries come in many different varieties and colors, but all cherries have a stem and an inedible pit, or stone inside. There are two main types of cherries, sweet and sour cherries. Sweet cherries can range from light yellow to dark red, while sour cherries are commonly red.
What Do Cherries Taste Like?
As the variety name suggests, cherries can be either sour or sweet depending on the type. As a general rule, dark cherries are sweeter and softer, while red cherries can be tart, bitter, and have a harder flesh.
How Can You Eat Cherries?
Sweet cherries are great to eat raw and fresh, either on their own, or pitted and sliced onto salads, cheese plates, or cold deserts. Sour cherries, which are also known as “pie cherries” are great for cooking and using in pies, pastries, jams, and sauces.
Where Can You Buy Cherries?
When in season, cherries can be found at most grocery stores. Cherry season is usually in the summertime, from May to August. Fillings and jams made with cherries are available year-round in the canned foods section.
How Do You Store Cherries?
Fresh cherries should be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag until you are ready to use them. They can also be pitted, sliced, and placed in a plastic bag and frozen for future use in smoothies and baked goods.
Fun Fact About Cherries:
Cherry trees don’t start to produce fruit until 4 years after planting.
Did You Know?
Cherry blossoms, the flowers that bloom from cherry trees, are Japan’s national flower. For the Japanese, these flowers symbolize beauty and the beginning of spring. Japan’s oldest cherry tree is over 1000 years old!
Recipes Using Cherries:
Fresh Cherry Crisp
Use pitted sour cherries to make this quick and easy dessert, perfect for when cherries are in season. In a bowl, combine cherries, sugar, and flour, and toss to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together instant oats, melted butter, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. In a baking dish, add the cherry mixture and top with the oat crumble. Bake the crisp until the cherries are cooked, and the top is golden brown.
Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars
Give a summertime spin to chocolate chip cookies with these chocolate chip cherry bars. In a large bowl, melt butter and stir in brown sugar, an egg, vanilla extract, and flour. Fold in cherries and chocolate chips and cook the bars in a baking pan lined with aluminum foil.
Make your own cherry preserves with just two ingredients; pitted cherries and sugar. In a large stockpot, combine two parts cherries to one part sugar. Cover the stockpot and let the cherries and sugar sit for 2 to 4 hours. Afterward, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until the mixture begins to gel together. Allow the preserves to cool and store the cherries in the fridge in glass jars.
Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini
On a baking sheet, cook cherries that have been seasoned with balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil, and thyme in the oven. On toasted baguette slices, spread a teaspoon of goat cheese and top with the balsamic glazed cherries.
Fresh Cherry Muffins
These muffins are perfect for using extra cherries. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, milk, eggs, and almond extract. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients slowly, and fold in fresh cherries. Put the batter into a muffin tin lined with muffin wrappers and bake in the oven. If you don’t have almond extract, feel free to flavor the batter with vanilla extract.