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All About Cherries

Tips for Buying, Storing, and Using Cherries

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Fresh, local cherries are the shining jewels of late spring and summer fruit. Learn what to look for at the market, different varieties, and find ways to use your haul below.

Cherry Season

Photo © Molly Watson
Sweet cherries, including the popular Bing and Rainier varieties, are available from May to August.

Sour cherries have a much shorter season, and can be found for a week or two, usually during the middle of June in warmer areas and as late as July and August in colder regions.

How to Buy Cherries

Photo © Molly Watson
If you possibly can, taste cherries before you buy them. Sweetness varies farm to farm (tree to tree, really) and week to week. Always look for shiny, plump cherries with fresh green stems and dark coloring for their variety. For specific buying tips see Cherry Varieties.

How to Store Cherries

Photo © Molly Watson
Keep cherries, unwashed and stems attached, in a paper bag, loosely-covered container, or loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them.

How to Prepare Cherries

Photo © Molly Watson

Rinse cherries with cool water right before using or eating them. To pit cherries, pluck off the stem and insert the end of a medium-large paper clip into the stem-hole. Snag the pit and scoop it out. Sour cherries are the easiest to pit, but with a deft hand and just a little digging and twisting, the paperclip method is perfectly effective for sweet cherries, too. See this Step-By-Step Guide to Pitting Cherries. Use or freeze cherries immediately after pitting.

Cherry Nutrition

Sour cherries are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and copper. Sweet cherries contain vitamin C, anthocyanin antioxidants, and melatonin, an antioxidant that fights insomnia and jet lag.

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