The short but sweet cherry season has arrived. Who doesn’t love cherries? Sweet, dark cherries are for eating, while tart cherries are used for cooking. The Brooks cherry is a favorite for eating out of hand. It’s a heavy, firm cherry — not too sweet and not too tart. Our markets have many varieties to choose from, from juicy sweet to pleasantly tart cherries including Bing, Tulare, Brooks, Rainier and others. Cherries colors range from a pale yellow to a rich burgundy, depending on the variety.
Just the Facts M’am
California Bing cherries come from tree stock that dates to the 1800s. There are approximately 600 cherry growers in California. 26,000 acres are in California cherry production. Farms range from 1 acre up to 500 acres. There are approximately 7,000 cherries on a cherry tree. You’ll need about 250-300 cherries to make a fresh cherry pie.
Cherries are a great source of melatonin and aid in the body’s rhythmic sleeping patterns. Cherries are also known it help fight pain and joint inflammation. Eating 20 cherries is the equivalent of popping two aspirins. Cherries contain anthocyanins, which give the cherry its red color and their antioxidant capabilities.
One cup of cherries contain about 63 calories. Ten raw cherries will provide about 10 percent of your daily fiber. Cherries are loaded with vitamin C and potassium.
How to Select: Cherries are one of the few fruits that does not continue to ripen after picking. Select firm, plump fruit with unblemished skin and the stem intact. Look at the stems — if they are dry then you’ll know the cherries have been off the tree a while. Don’t buy if they look bruised.
How To Store: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Use within two to four days. When ready to eat, let the cherries come to room temperature for best flavor.