In season: cherries
Published : January 27, 2017
The taste of summer
Cherries look luscious, taste delicious and are truly versatile.
They are ready to eat and packed with nutrients so it’s not surprising that cherries make the perfect healthy summer snack.
Did you know that just one serve of cherries (150g) provides more than 60% of our daily needs of Vitamin C? Fresh cherries are superb in summer fruit salads, drinks, salads, salsas, sauces, dressings and desserts.
Cherries also add richness, colour and a flavour burst to our cooking including both sweet and savoury recipes from sauces, chutneys and relishes to cakes, muffins, pies and tarts.
The Victorian cherry season begins in most areas about the first or second week of November and continues through until early February.
Different varieties of cherries are harvested at different times. What you see in the shops in November will be different to what you see in January. Some varieties are rich and sweet and others are mild, but they are all delicious!
The main cherry varieties grown in Victoria are:
- Sweet Georgia
- Sweetheart, and
- Choose cherries with stems attached.
- Look for cherries that are plump, firm, bright and shiny with fresh green stems.
- The colour of cherries will vary according to variety.
- Avoid cherries that are soft, squashed or bruised.
- Once picked, cherries cease to ripen, so should be consumed within four days of purchase.
- Store cherries loosely packed in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge.
- Cherries can also be frozen (remove stones first) for up to six months.
- Only wash cherries immediately before consuming.
- Fresh cherries can be served intact with stones.
- However, the stones should be removed before use in cooking to help prevent a broken tooth when chomped on by an unsuspecting diner!
- To remove the stones use a cherry pitter. Or use a small sharp knife to cut a slit in one side of the cherry then remove the stone.
- Most cherries are very juicy, so try pitting them inside a plastic bag or large bowl to avoid stains.
Uses and recipes
- Cherries make summer fruit platters special with no fuss at all.
- Scatter pitted cherries over breakfast yogurt, cereal or pancakes – pip the cherries the night before to save time in the morning.
- Whiz pitted cherries up with a handful of almonds, a dollop of yogurt, a little honey or maple syrup and your choice of milk for a yummy quick breakfast.
- Add cherries to your cheese platter for the perfect edible garnish not to mention a wonderful taste and texture contrast to your favourite cheeses.
- Scatter cherries and baby mint leaves over pavlova for a simply stunning dessert - you may like to fold chocolate through the meringue as cherries and chocolate are a match made in heaven.
- Layer pitted cherries with yogurt and muesli in glasses or jars for an easy breakfast, dessert or snack.
- You’ll find a range of delicious cherry recipes at australiancherries.com.au.
Health & Wellbeing
Sweet cherries are rich in flavour and a wonderful source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C, which are essential for good health.
However, cherries really begin to shine with their antioxidant content. What a delicious way to help build health and wellbeing!
More information: cherries.org.au