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Cherries are typically only in-season from June until the end of August so do not delay if you want to enjoy fresh juicy cherries before they are gone.

Cherries are not only delicious but contain vitamins A and C, potassium, manganese, copper and are a good source of fiber.

They are typically only in-season from June until the end of August so do not delay if you want to enjoy fresh juicy cherries before they are gone.

There are two main types of cherries, sweet and sour. Sweet cherries are great for eating raw and many other uses. Sour cherries on the other hand are almost too tart to be eaten raw and are widely used in desserts, preserves and other cooked dishes.

Dried cherries generally have sugar added to them but are available with no added sugar. Both sweet and sour cherries are available frozen.

Buy cherries that have been kept cool and moist. Good cherries should be large (one inch or more in diameter), glossy, plump, hard and dark-colored for their variety. The stems should be fresh and green. Dark stems are a sign of old age or poor storage conditions.

Avoid cherries that are small, bruised, have cuts or a dark surface, soft, wrinkled skin, leaking and sticky, or that have any visible signs of decay. Immature cherries will be smaller and less juicy while over-mature product will be soft, dull, and wrinkled.

Cherries are highly perishable and should be refrigerated as soon as possible. Tart cherries are more perishable than sweet cherries. Sort cherries carefully and place them loosely in a shallow container so that air can circulate. Wash cherries just before using by rinsing gently in cool water. For highest quality, fresh cherries should be stored only one or two days but will generally keep about a week.

Using a cherry pitter is the quickest way to remove the pits in cherries but there are many other methods that are just as easy. Cherries can be cut in half (from top to bottom) with a knife and then the pit removed with a spoon or paring knife.

Fresh cherries are delicious just by themselves at snack or mealtime but here are few additional ways to enjoy them:

-- Pack cherries in lunches for a treat or add them to a mixed fruit salad.

-- Stir cherries into yogurt or serve them over frozen yogurt or ice cream.

-- Combine in a blender for a breakfast smoothie or with yogurt and granola for a breakfast parfait.

-- Replace strawberries with halved cherries in a low-fat shortcake.

-- Top a lettuce salad with cherries and other summer fruit like fresh plums or apricots.

Cherry Salad

  • 1/2 cup sweet cherries
  • 1 cup cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1 cup green grapes, cut in half
  • 1 medium banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (juice from 1/2 orange)
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut (optional)

Wash all fruit before cutting. Pit cherries by slicing them in half and removing the pit.

Mix the cut fruit together in a bowl. Pour orange juice over fruit and stir in coconut if desired.

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 110 calories, 2 g fat, 25 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber and 1 g protein.

Recipe from: Oregon State Extension

Cami Wells is an Extension Educator for Nebraska Extension in Hall County. Contact her at (308) 385-5088 or at cwells2@unl.edu. Visit the Hall County website at www.hall.unl.edu

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