In Season: Cherries
There are a few indispensable icons of summer, and for me, cherries are on the top of the list. While cherries start to appear in stores as early as April, June and July are peak months to enjoy multiple varieties and the sweetest flavor.
While bright red fruit comes to mind when people think about cherries, this juicy fruit comes in several shapes and sizes. If you get a chance, try to taste each over the course of the summer:
- Bing: The best-known variety grown in the U.S., appreciated for its intensely sweet, vibrant flavors.
- Staccato: A large, late-season variety, this super-sweet fruit is dark red, almost black in color.
- Rainier: Large cherries with a golden color and a pink or red blush, pure yellow flesh and firm, fine texture. With their delicate flavor and extraordinary sugar levels, these are considered by many to be the best cherries!
- Skeena: Large round cherries with dark round skin. This later-season variety is known for its juicy sweetness.
- Sweetheart: A late-season variety with dark red flesh and skin. It's heart-shaped, of course!
With cherries, size matters. Check for a bright green stem, then give them a feel to check that they are firm with no soft spots. But the best way to pick a good cherry is to taste them.
During peak season, stores offer fantastic deals on cherries. Don't be afraid to grab more than you can eat in a few days — cherries freeze beautifully. Make sure to pit them (here' are four ways) before freezing.
Check out the slideshow for some summer recipes starring cherries.
— James Parker, global associate perishables coordinator for Whole Foods Market