But not for long……

What is it about seeing buckets of red cherries on a table that makes you smile? It’s officially summer when you can pop one of these juicy red nuggets into your mouth.

Cherries fall into just two categories – sweet and sour. Sour cherries are higher in vitamin C and beta carotene. Tart cherries are better known for their abilities to act as muscle pain reducers. I have been told that eating 10 raw cherries in a day will provide you about 10 percent of your daily fiber.

The montmorency and balaton varieties of cherries are produced primarily in Michigan.  My girlfriend is from there, so I felt is was important to mention it.

During the short cherry season I will find about 10 different varieties at my local farmer’s market. With names like Chelan, Ferrovia, Utah Giants, Black and Royal Rainier, it’s going to be hard to choose. You’ll also find the old reliables such as Burlats and Bings, but take a chance and get out of your box. Is there such a thing as a “bad” cherry?

Worldwide there are more than 1,000 different varieties of cherries. It’s one of the fruits that have a season since they cannot be grown year-round.

Here in California we have approximately 600 Bing cherry growers farming more than 26,000 acres of this early variety. Cherries came over to the U.S. with the English colonists in the early 1600s and made their way to California via the Spanish missionaries.

How to Select: After your taste test, look for cherries that still have stems on them. If the stems look dry, you know the cherry has been off the tree awhile. Look for cherries that are firm and not split. Cherries are one of the few fruits that, once picked, do not continue to ripen.

How to Store: I don’t know about you, but cherries don’t last too long in my house. If you do need to store them place them in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to eat, leave at room temperature for best flavor.

Of Course I have a couple of easy recipes for you to try out & enjoy!

Cherry Clobber  (serves 12)

1/2 cup butter, unsalted

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk

2 cups pitted sour cherries

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish, and place in the oven to melt while the oven is preheating. Remove as soon as butter has melted, about 5 minutes.

*In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and baking powder. *Mix in the milk until well blended, then pour the batter into the pan over the butter. Do not stir.

*Rinse out the bowl from the batter, and dry. Place cherries into the bowl, and toss with the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. Distribute the cherry mixture evenly over the batter. Do not stir.

*Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the cobber should come out clean.

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies (makes 2 dozen)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 stick butter, unsalted & softened

½ cup dark chocolate chunks

½ cup bing cherries

*Preheat oven to 350.

*Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

*Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beating to mix. Add the vanilla and mix gently to combine.

*Add the flour to the butter and mix. Carefully stir in the chocolate chunks and dried cherries.

*Drop large golf ball-sized balls of dough (about two tbsp dough each) on a lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until puffy and golden.

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