Got Cherries? Let’s Cook!

Midsummer nights have sprouted fireflies aplenty in southwestern Ontario. Midsummer days have sprouted something just as pretty though—plenty of delicious fruit! Farmers markets are a place of bounty, but you can get your hands on local fruit at area grocery stores too. While strawberries are petering out, thanks to a cool and wet spring, cherries are still going strong. Get them while you can and be creative with what you do with them. Eat them straight from the tree or pick them to plunk into a pie. There are so many delicious ways to enjoy them.

Seasonal Cherry Recipes

Martha wouldn’t steer you wrong. And she knows how to enjoy cherries in more ways than you could imagine. Here’s a simple cherry recipe that is sure to please from MarthaStewart.com.

Cherry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups pitted and halved dark sweet cherries
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • A few fresh thyme sprigs
  • Coarse salt
  • 10 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature
  • Twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices of toasted rustic bread

Directions:

  1. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cherries with olive oil and a few fresh thyme sprigs; lightly season with salt. Bake at 425 degrees until the juices begin to caramelize, about 17 minutes.
  2. Spread goat cheese among slices of toasted rustic bread. Spoon on the fruit and serve.

Cherries aren’t just for dessert anymore. And now that we’ve warmed up your palate with an appetizer, how about throwing a few cherries into your main course? This cherry recipe from Health.com is bound to wow the most discerning palate, and it only has 189 calories per serving.

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Cherry Sauce

By 0x010C – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42929977

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped pitted sweet cherries
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine or water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cherry preserves
  • 4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Directions:

  1. Prepare the grill. Then lightly spray the grill rack with cooking spray.
  2. Lightly crush cherries in a small saucepan. Add the wine or water and next 6 ingredients (through preserves). Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
  3. Grill the chicken, covered, for 4 minutes on each side or until it is cooked through. Serve chicken topped with cherry sauce.

I’m sure you can find recipes for cherry pie, crumble or turnovers aplenty, but what about preserving your cherries to enjoy once the season is done? How about a cherry jam with a smoky twist from eatinwell.com!

Smoky Roasted Cherry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups halved pitted fresh cherries or thawed and drained frozen whole cherries
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Combine cherries, orange juice, thyme, paprika and salt in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
  3. Roast, stirring 3 or 4 times, until the cherries are starting to break down and the liquid has thickened, approximately 35 to 45 minutes.

  4. For a bonus recipe that includes both cherries AND cherry wood, check out FoodNetwork.ca for Smoked Rack of Pork with Black Cherry Sauce. You can’t beat that!

If you can’t get enough of cherries, why not plant your own cherry tree to enjoy an abundance of cherries all for you. In no time, you’ll have enough cherries for all of these recipes, plus plenty more. With plenty of potassium, Vitamin A and C, beta carotene, and even melatonin, you can’t go wrong with this delicious tree fruit. Enjoy the cherry harvest!

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