The perfect cherry is rounded with a slight heart shape and dimple at its stem end. The size can range from one to three centimeters in diameter. The skin is thin and taut with deep red coloring and brilliant sheen. The inner flesh’s color palate is a range of rouge tones. The firm yet juicy pulp surrounds a single stone which may cling tightly or easily pull away depending upon variety. The cherry’s flavor is bright and pleasantly sweet tart, mimicking notes of currant, plum, raspberry and blackberry.
Cherries are available year-round with a peak season in late spring and summer.
Cherries are incredibly versatile extending uses into sweet and savory recipes, raw or cooked preparations, and may be found fresh, dried, frozen, preserved or even pickled. Their inherent sweetness pairs well with strong game meats, most notable water fowl such as duck. It also balances well against salty and creamy cheeses such as burrata, feta, mascarpone and brie. They cook down into silky jams, jellies, pie fillings, dessert toppings, and even chutney or barbecue sauce. They can be preserved in maraschino liqueur or even brandy for cocktails or baking applications. Cherries also pair well with other stone fruit, basil, hazelnut oil, pine nuts, fennel, pistachios, arugula, yogurt, cream, dark chocolate and berries such as blueberry and blackberry.