From deep red Bings to pink-kissed golden Royal Anns, cherries are a summertime favorite—and a good source of antioxidants.
Season: May through August.
How to Choose Cherries
Be sure the fruits are large, plump, and firm, with unblemished, glossy, dry skin in a uniform color, preferably with fresh-looking green stems attached. With the exception of creamy yellow and-red Rainier cherries, which are sweeter than Bings, a deeper red yields a sweeter taste.
How to Store Cherries
Cherries are highly perishable and should be eaten within a day or two of purchase. Those with stems typically last longer than those without. Don't wash cherries until you're ready to eat them (moisture speeds decay), and store them in a bowl or an open bag in the refrigerator. To freeze cherries for up to a year, rinse and drain them thoroughly, spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and freeze overnight, then transfer them to an airtight container.
How to Prepare Cherries
To pit cherries, you can use a dedicated cherry pitter or use a paring knife to slice all the way around the pit, twist off one half of the fruit, then pick out the pit with the knife tip. If looks don't matter, you can smash the cherry with the flat of a chef's knife (as you would garlic), then remove the pit.
How to Use Cherries
Sweet cherries are best for snacking; sweet or sour ones work well in pies, sauces, and jams.
Real Simple Cherry Recipes:
- Fresh Corn With Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes
- Grilled Pork Chops and Cherry Tomatoes
- Roasted Cherry Tomato and Ricotta Pasta Salad
- Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Roast Beef and Sweet Cherry Pepper Sandwich
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.