Cherries are here!
It's cherry season, people. Here's what you need to know to make the most of it.
Bingis by far the predominant sweet cherry. It’s firm, dark red, sweet, and juicy—a textbook cherry.Soon, the cherries you buy at the store will be a mix of other later-season varieties, says Michael. These includeSkeena, a large, nearly black cherry;
Lapin, which is quite firm and sweet; and the heart-shapedSweetheart.Rainiercherries, a fleeting mid-season variety, have distinct pink-tinged yellow skins and very sweet, yellow-colored flesh. Find them now, but not for much longer, at farmers' markets and grocery stores.
Montmorencyis the most common of the sour cherries. It’s bright red like a Twizzler, softer, and more tender-skinned than any of the sweet cherries.Remember: only a tiny fraction of sour cherries are sold fresh. The rest are turned into juice and other products. So if you see fresh Montmorencys, snap them up.
Add sweet Rainier cherries to an arugula salad or simmer tart Montmorencys into a sauce for pork tenderloin.Ellen Silvermantext in calloutLook at the stemThe stem on a cherry is like the eyes on a fish, says Michael. You can tell how fresh it is by looking at it. An intact green stem bodes well.
“We pick with the stem on. That helps them hold. Otherwise, the hole where the stem was can rot quicker," says farmer Peter Klein of Seedling Fruit in South Haven, Michigan.But that doesn’t mean cherries missing their stems are no good. Check the fruit. It should look shiny and feel firm and plump, not wrinkly or bruised. Keep in mind that sour cherries are naturally softer than sweet ones, and that cherries at the farmers' market tend to be hand-picked and more fragile than commercially grown ones.
How to store themCherries like it cold. “They lose more quality in an hour at room temperature than they do all day at refrigerator temperature,” says Michael.AdvertisementSo put them in the fridge, unwashed, and keep them dry. If you have room, Klein suggests storing them in layers between paper towels.
Cherries will keep well for at least a week in the fridge.They freeze well, too. Rinse, pat dry, and freeze them in airtight plastic bags. You can do this keeping the stems and pits intact, but you might find it more convenient later on if you pit them first. And hey, think of the fun you could have spitting all of those leftover pits.
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