It’s cherry season again, just in time for your Independence Day celebrations. While apple pie usually gets the reputation for being All-American, there’s certainly nothing unpatriotic about a good cherry pie.
Cherries are fabulously tasty in smoothies, cookies, dressings, infused vinegars, cobblers, crisps, salads, sauces or just “on top”—they’re far more versatile than their diminutive size would seem to suggest. Preparing them, however, can be a chore. Pick up this OXO Cherry Pitter (one of our favorite kitchen tools) to make sure that removing pits is fast and mess-free. And don’t miss our Celebrating Cherries with Whole Foods Market cooking class!
Tips & Tricks
- A cherry pitter is a crucial tool for using cherries in recipes. Not only does using a paring knife take twice as long, but it also tends to shred the flesh of the cherry and waste delicious juice.
- Adding 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to your cherry recipes will help to bring out more cherry flavor.
- Occasionally, cherry baked goods may take on a blue discoloration due to a reaction between the cherries and baking powder. Sub sour cream for milk or add in a different acidic liquid to prevent the reaction from occurring.
- For a special treat, look for Rainier cherries. You’ll pay a premium, but the flavor more than makes up for the price.
- Cherry season runs from roughly May to August and fresh cherries are generally unavailable at stores after the season closes. Even though the cherry window-of-opportunity is short, the average American consumes 1 1/2 pounds annually.
- Canada holds the record for baking the biggest cherry pie in history, 39,683 pounds, in Oliver, British Columbia. They shattered the record previously held by Traverse City, Michigan, but that doesn’t dampen too many spirits at their annual week long Cherry Festival.
- Tart cherry trees grow an average of 7,000 cherries per year. That’s enough cherries to make 28 pies!
- Cherries are members of the same plant family, Rosaceae, as almonds, plums, peaches, and apricots.
More Cherry Recipes
- Dark Chocolate and Cherry Clafoutis (from Sur La Table National Chef Joel Gamoran’s video above)
- Cherry Hand Pies (pictured at top)
- Cherries and Cream Quick Pops
- Apricot-Cherry Almond Cobbler
- Raspberry-Cherry Crumble Bars
What are your favorite cherry stories and recipes? Let us know in the comments.