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Cherry: Fruit of the Month

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Choosing the Best Cherry continued...

At the market, pick a handful of cherries at a time and only select the best fruit. This may be time-consuming, but the reward will be better cherries. Good cherries should be large (one inch or more in diameter), glossy, plump, hard and dark-colored for their variety. Buy cherries with stems on - they should be fresh and green. Reject undersized cherries or those that are soft or flabby. Avoid fruit that is bruised or has cuts on the dark surface.

If you find many damaged fruits at the market, consider buying cherries somewhere else, as a number of spoiled cherries will start the others to decay.

Storing Cherries for Freshness

Loosely pack unwashed cherries in plastic bags or pour them into a shallow pan in a single layer and cover with plastic wrap to minimize bruising. Store cherries in the refrigerator and cherries in good condition should last up to a week. Check the fruit occasionally and remove the cherries that have gone bad. Wash the fruit before eating.

You can freeze cherries by rinsing and draining thoroughly, spreading them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and placing in the freezer overnight. Once the cherries are frozen, transfer them to a heavy plastic bag. The frozen fruit may be kept up to a year.

Preparing Cherries to Eat

Most cherries bought at the market are eaten raw, alone or accompanied by other fruits. Simply wash the fruit and serve with the stems.

For cooking, pit cherries either by hand or with a pitter. Poaching is the most common form of preparation. Drop cherries into a small amount of simmering water, or a combination of water and wine, and cook for one to three minutes until soft. Poach using the formula of one cup liquid to two cups cherries.

Tips to Make Cherries Part of Your Day

  • Add cherries to a fruit salad to add color, flavor and variety.
  • Poached cherries make an excellent topping for low fat ice cream or low fat frozen yogurt.
  • Dried cherries add sweetness to oatmeal or trail mix.

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