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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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The cherry season lasts until late summer

Summer time is cherry time. You can buy cherries fright through until late summer. Sweet cherries taste best eaten just like that, while sour cherries are the ones to use for cooking – for making jam and cakes, for stewing, juicing and bottling, and for making puddings. Cherry compote – stewed cherries – are delicious with pancakes, rice pudding and icecream. A morello cherry sauce adds a spicy note to savoury dishes, such as breast of duck, steak, pork filets and salads. If you’re stoning cherries, make your task easier by popping the cherries in the freezer for 5 minutes or so before starting.

Eating cherries

Cherries were first cultivated around the Mediterranean. There are several different types of cherries, but the best-known ones are the heart-shaped Bing cherries, which tend to be soft and juicy, and the firm, aromatic chelan cherries. Then, in Germany, there are the cherries grow especially for making cherry brandy. The biggest cherry grower for Europe is Turkey, followed by Spain, Greece, Italy and France. A lot of cherries are grown in Germany too, half of them in Baden-Württemberg.

Cooking cherries – sour cherries

Sour cherries, sometimes called cooking cherries, come originally from western Asia and southern Europe. There are two main types of sour cherry: amarelle and morello cherries. Morello cherries are firm and dark-fleshed, while amarelle-type cherries are yellow-fleshed. Both are tasty and good in all sorts of recipes. Most of the sour cherries sold in Europe are grown in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Serbia, but a third of German cherries are grown in Germany, in Rhineland-Palatinate. Cherries are a good source of minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron as well as provitamin A, B vitamins and vitamins C and E.

Buying and storing, quality checks

When you’re shopping for cherries, buy the best quality you can afford. They should be ripe, firm and glossy. Check for damage and make sure there’s no sigh of mould. Sour cherries should always have stalks – the greener and smoother the stalk, the fresher the fruit. Be careful taking them home, because pressure can damage them. They’ll taste best if you eat them soon after buying them, but they’ll keep two or three days in the fridge. Only wash them just before you eat them. Don’t remove the stalks until just before you eat the cherries, because otherwise they lose a lot of their juice.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de