Cooking, eating, and entertaining... it's why I collect recipes and share them. Plus I'm half Hungarian, which explains a lot.
February Is The Month for Cherries and Presidents
Should the sweet red cherry be voted as president of all stone fruits? For your diet they promise all sorts of health benefits, and no one denies they do it in good taste.
Survey some of their fine qualities and the nutritional facts, then proceed to dessert and make a dish to celebrate.
Bing Cherries, Royal Anne, Sweetheart
These are all names for a type of sweet cherry that is premier for out of hand, fresh eating. Like their sour counterparts the tart cherries, sweet cherries are also good for you. There are numerous health claims for them, and most people love their flavor.
In season, they are a juicy delicious treat eaten fresh, but also make wonderful desserts and pies. If you like cherry desserts you might be more familiar with the tart cherry, but Bing types can deliver delicious results,too.
You can grow your own if you plant a cherry tree of the right variety (or two). I planted several Prunus avium ( he proper Latin name for these trees) on my property many years ago. I became interested in the health properties of these red fruits when my Dad had developed gout many years ago.
Now, there has been plenty of new findings on why we should eat fruits and vegetables more, so let's find out about sweet cherries.
Harvest When Ripe
Both sweet and sour cherries have extremely short shelf lives.
Attractive To Look At, As Well As To Serve
Health Benefits of Cherries
Both the sweet and tart cherries have similar nutrients and antioxidants, but the tart type have more benefits.
- Lots of Vitamin A
Almost 20 x more Vitamin A than strawberries or blueberries.
- These fruits have melatonin which aids sleep.
- Cherries have antioxidants known as anthocyanins (they give the purple-red color). Good for the brain.
- Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties.
- This stone fruit also has anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamic acid, and perillyl alcohol, which is believed to protect against cancers.
- Reputed to be a heart healthy food
- Cherries help reduce the risk of diabetes. (2)
Health Facts Oh Sweet Red Cherries
The Art of Sweet Cherries
The When, Why, and How to Serve These Fruits
Sweet cherries are at their peak from late June through July. In season they are best eaten fresh, but can be frozen, preserved, or canned for use in other times of the year
How Do You Pit A Cherry?
These are a drupe, like peaches, nectarines, and plums. They bloom early in spring and sometimes suffer from late frosts.
It is necessary to pit the fruits before using in your recipes.
How to pit a cherry
A cherry can be pitted using a simple paring knife, or a stick like a shish-ka-bob grilling stick. Remove the stem. Probe for the seed. Use your utensil and twist the seed out. Throw away the pit.
If you have lots of cherries that is tedious work.
The easy way is to get a cherry pitter- one of the labor saving devices of yore. It works well and saves lots of grief.
OXO Cherry Pitter - is the most highly recommended
If you have a cherry tree or buy large amounts of cherries in season- you know the need for a good cherry pitter. Yes, we can use a paring knife, but it is so awkward compared to the tool designed for the job.
Simple, Fresh Presentation
Serving fresh sweet cherries
Simply wash them, and serve chilled in a bowl. That is the best way. Whipped cream is a nice side, or mixed with pitted sweet cherries, it becomes "Cherry Fool". Spoon cherries onto vanilla ice cream.
Sweet Cherries Available In Grocery Stores
Traditional Fruit Recipes
"Rustic fruit desserts" - nothing says homemade better than simple fruit recipes of the past. They are interwoven into the history of the American nation. We may not have the same chores as back then, but we truly have the same desire for something good to top off a meal. we want it to be easy and quick to make, and these cobblers, buckles...even "grunts" will fill the bill, and fill your kitchen with delicious desserts.
Fresh sweet cherries are available from late May through August. Shiny, firm,fleshy, and with good color are the qualities you look for in Sweet cherries. Cover and refrigerate for up to a week. Don't wash before storing, wait until ready to serve.
Plant Your Own Prunus Avium
Sweet Cherry trees, Prunus avium, grow best in gravelly to sandy loam soils, clay soils reduce production.
They need full sunlight and pruning to maintain air and sunlight penetration within the tree.
Sweet cherries are usually harvested by hand for fresh eating.
- Stone Fruits: Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Apricots, and Cherries
Fruit Production for the Home Gardener - Penn State Extension
Life Is A Bowl Full Of Sweet Cherries
The beauty of Plump Red Cherries
These fruits are just plain beautiful, and they, along with their cousins the sour cherries are the objects of many paintings and decorative motifs.
smitten kitchen is the favorite recipe site of mine, and friends who know how to cook!
In years when my sweet cherry trees produced well, I had an overabundance of cherries and made cherry desserts like this.
- 4 cups pitted fresh cherries (about 2 1/2 pounds unpitted)
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter -cut into small bits
- 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water
- Coarse sugar for decoration
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Stir together the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl.
- Roll out half of chilled dough (use larger piece, if you've divided them unevenly) on a floured work surface to 13-inch round. Gently place it in 9-inch pie pan, either by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it over the pan or by folding it into quarters and unfolding it in the pan. Trim edges to a half-inch overhang.
- Spoon filling into pie crust, discarding the majority of the liquid that has pooled in the bowl. Dot the filling with the bits of cold butter.
- Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Brush the egg wash over over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.
Sweet Cherry Preserves - Serve on brioche with goat cheese for breakfast
From the Cilantropist is this easy to follow sweet cherry preserve recipe. You will want lots of this, so be sure to buy a pitter if you don't already have one.
If I am beginning to sound like a broken record in cajoling you into buying a cherry pitter it is only because of hard-earned experience in pitting a large crop of cherries from my trees.
- 4 cups washed and pitted cherries
- Juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 -2 tsp amaretto (optional)
- Pit washed cherries, then chop about 1/2 or 1/3 of them into rough pieces, and leave the others whole. Add all the cherries to a medium pot along with the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, until bubbling, then continue to cook while stirring occasionally for about 20-25 minutes. Make sure you stir especially towards the end of that time so the juice on the bottom does not burn. While cooking, use a spoon to smash the whole cherries to release the juice and flatten them.
- After the cherries are fully cooked, add the sugar, stir to mix it in and dissolve it, then continue to cook over medium-high heat for another 5-7 minutes. (Again, be sure to stir, so the sugar and cherries don't burn.) After cooking, the juice should have started to 'gel' a bit and thicken so that it starts to coat the back of your spoon or ladle. Remove the preserves from heat, and test if they are done. If the preserves are not done, return them to the heat and cook them for a few more minutes, then test them again. When done, let the preserves cool slightly*, then transfer it to jars. Once they are cooled, they will keep refrigerated for several months.
Canning Sweet Cherries
Find Out More On This Delightful treat
Your Comment ... is the cherry on top
Susan R. Davis from Vancouver on June 12, 2013:
I LOVE cherries, although I like the Rainier Cherries better than Bings. Now I'm hungry. :-)