The arrival of cherries in Australia marks the onset of the festive season. Highly sought after, the cherry is a favourite with everyone.
There are three main types of cherries: the sweet cherry, sour cherries such as the Morello variety, and the in-betweens (duke cherries). The most common type in Australia is the sweet cherry, which can be found in a number of varieties.
Nutritionally, cherries are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins B and C, potassium and antioxidants.
When selecting cherries, choose plump, shiny fruit with bright green stalks still attached (a sign of freshness).
Sweet cherries keep well for several days in a vegetable storage bag in the refrigerator. Sour cherries stored in the same manner will keep for a longer period. Do not remove stalks before storing. All cherries can be successfully frozen, with or without stones.
The easiest way to remove the stones if using cherries in cooking is with a cherry stoner. Alternatively cut a small slit near the top of the cherry and remove the pip with a small knife.
Cherries are divine enjoyed just as they are, but here are five other ways to enjoy them:
1. Make a Black Forest Cake with sour cherries.
2. Add pitted cherries to a summer fruit salad.
3. Serve cherries as part of a cheese platter
4. Toss a handful of halved pitted cherries into a salad of rocket and feta cheese.
5. Add pitted cherries to muffin or cake batter.