Vegetables

By Gwen Ashley Walters | JUNE 10, 2009 | KITCHEN TOOLS

Cherries

Pretty please! With a cherry on top?

Does anyone know how or why that saying came about?After an exhaustive, 5 minute search on Google, I gave up.

I’m not giving up on getting my fill of cherries this season. And it is just about peak season for fresh, sweet cherries.

Cherry-bath2

Curl up on the couch with a big bowl of just washed cherries, pick one up by the stem, balance it between your front teeth. Yank off the stem. Bite the cherry — burst of sweet juice. Wiggle out the pit and gracefully (or not?) spit out the pit. Is there anything better than juicy, sweet cherry noshing?

Fresh cherries won’t be here long, so enjoy them while you can. At the height of the season (now through end of July) the prices come down and it’s the perfect time to stock up on cherries to freeze for dreary winter days.

To freeze cherries, first you need to pit them. And the easiest way to do that is with a cherry pitter (also called an olive pitter, for self-explanatory reasons).

What? You don’t have a cherry pitter? Why not? David Lebovitz has two (one for him and one for a friend because pitting cherries is time consuming and four hands are better than two).

Cherry-Pitter

It’s best to pit the cherries over a bowl (actually inside a deep bowl) because the magenta juice will splatter everywhere.

Once all your cherries are pitted, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer. Freeze the cherries for about an hour. Remove and pop them into a freezer bag, squish out the air and seal. Label the bag with the date, and put back into the freezer.

The sex appeal of eating them out of hand on a hot summer evening can’t be beat, but every time I pull a cherry from the freezer in December, I smile, thinking about the simple pleasure enjoyed for a fleeting moment last summer.

But for now, make the most of fresh cherries, like whipping up this cherry salsa. Serve it as a topping for grilled fish or chicken, or eat straight out of the bowl with pita chips.

Cherry-Salsa

Fresh Cherry Salsa

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and cut into quarters
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
1 jalapeno, minced (remove seeds if you’re a sissy)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings. Let rest half an hour before serving. Best to consume the day it is made, although it will keep 1 day (just not as pretty, yet still tasty).


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Comments

[...] About Now and Later: Cherries [...]

[...] this summer, I posted a recipe for fresh cherry salsa but today, I’m making a cranberry grapefruit salsa. This recipe is really more of a holiday [...]

Cheryl Arkison | AUGUST 04, 2009

How do you use your frozen cherries? Straight into batter for baking? Are they like berries, do they give off more juice?

I discovered sour cherries in the market for the first time this year, I’d never seen them before in our markets. Oh, heaven. Made my first sour cherry pie.
http://backseatgourmet.blogspot.com/2009/08/taste-adventure-sour-cherries.html

chefgwen | AUGUST 04, 2009

Hi Cheryl, yes, I use the frozen cherries like I would any other frozen berry, and they do give off some juice when they thaw, although not as much as strawberries.

I even eat them as a frozen snack, so sometimes, they don’t make it all the way to the winter months :)

GREAT post on hand made sour cherry pies. Lucky you have them in your market! Thanks for sharing.

Kristina | AUGUST 04, 2009

I love the salsa idea! I wish we had been able to get our hands on more cherries this year but the weather we had was really bad for them. I’m down to two bags of sour cherries left in my freezer from the spring before!

chefgwen | AUGUST 04, 2009

Hi Kristina:

I live in the desert, so all our cherries are “trucked” in, and no sour ones, so relish those last two bags!

[...] this summer, I posted a recipe for fresh cherry salsa but today, I’m making a cranberry grapefruit salsa. This recipe is really more of a holiday [...]

[...] sweet cherries and tart lime (and because I still have boocoos of cherries left over from the last cherry post) I whipped up a cherry lime [...]

[...] Bon Appetit, Epicurious and Martha Stewart and even the food bloggers like The Wicked Noodle and Pen and Fork have a variation of [...]

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