All About Cherries
In the United States, a majority of cherries are grown in the Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah. Cherries from this region are typically only around for a few short months, so be sure to buy them while available!
How to shop for them: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Customers can start looking for cherries in early June and will usually be able to purchase them well into August. You should look for cherries that are firm, plump, shiny, and have bright-green stems attached. Try to avoid cherries that are soft, shriveled, or have blemishes and brown spots.
How to store them:
Cherries are best stored in the refrigerator, and theyâ€™ll actually keep for several days that way. However, if you have an abundance of cherries and you donâ€™t think youâ€™ll eat them all before they start to head south, you can freeze them.
There are a couple ways to freeze cherries, so pick the one that works best for you. For any method, first be sure to wash and dry the cherries thoroughly. My preferred method of freezing cherries is as follows:
- Place the cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Place in the freezer until cherries are frozen.
- Remove the tray from the freezer, and pack the cherries into freezer bags, making sure to remove any excess air.
- Label the freezer bags with the date they were frozen.
- Keep frozen cherries up to four months.
How to prepare them:
Cherries require very little prep work for snacking. The minimal amount of preparation you can have with cherries is simply running them under water prior to eating. From there you can pop them straight into your mouth and enjoy them raw â€“ just beware of the hard pit!
If you plan to use fresh cherries in a recipe, youâ€™ll want to remove their pits ahead of time. Pitting cherries can be a labor of love, but itâ€™s always well worth it for recipes that call for cherries. There are many ways to remove a cherry pit, the best way being whichever way you enjoy the most! One tried and true method is to spend a few extra dollars and invest in a cherry pitter. A good cherry pitter can make removing those pesky pits a fun activity for kids and adults alike!
How to eat them:
There are so many ways to enjoy one of summertimeâ€™s favorite fruits! On a hot summer day, combine pitted cherries, fresh-squeezed lime juice, a little bit of sugar and ice-cold water â€“ blend together for a sweet and tart cherry limeade!
Or, try making a fresh cherry salsa â€“ eat the salsa with corn chips, or use as a topping for fish tacos. In a bowl, add chopped cherries, red onion, fresh cilantro, jalapeno, fresh lime juice and a little salt and pepper. This is a great salsa for anyone who likes a sweet & spicy combo!
If youâ€™re feeling on the spunkier side, I highly recommend this unique recipe for a Cherry Balsamic Parfait.
- 2 cups cherries, pitted
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- Sliced almonds, optional
- Combine cherries, water and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook the cherry mixture for about 20 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Occasionally stir and mash the mixture.
- Once thick, remove from the heat and let cool completely.
- Stir lemon zest and almond extract into yogurt.
- Layer yogurt and cherry mixture in a glass.
- Top with sliced almonds â€“ optional.
Cherries, like all fruits and vegetables, are full of vitamins and minerals that help keep our bodies working at their best! On top of that, cherries are often considered an antioxidant powerhouse. They have phytonutrients called anthocyanins and quercetin, which help keep our cells as healthy as can be!
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