Believe it or not cherries belong to the same family as almonds, peaches, apricots, and plums, also known as stone fruit. In the United States you can find more than 1,000 varieties of cherry trees. One cherry tree can produce up to 7,000 cherries, think of all those pies! In our case, we love cherry cobbler! Some people even grow cherry trees just for their beautiful blossoms.
Cherries can be sweet or sour, there are many different kinds. The most well-known is the “Sweet Bing” a large, round, sweet, dark red skinned cherry. One of our favorites is the “Rainer” it has a light yellow or pinkish skin and is even sweeter than the Bing cherry and harder to find.
Try buying your cherries at your local farmers market or a roadside fruit stand, the fresher the better. Buy cherries that have their green stems still on. Always look through the cherries your buying because one bad cherry can start the other ones to decay quickly. Look for cherries that are plump, firm and have a glossy skin, it will be well worth the time you spend sorting. There is nothing like the taste of a fresh, cool, cherry for a special snack on a hot summer day.
You can use cherries in cooking so many ways, in salads, sauces, desserts, breads, and endless other ways. We use dried cherries all year in hot cereal and muffins. So the next time you see a basket of brightly colored cherries, think of all the delicious ways to eat them!
Photo by Meg Smith