When I was a kid I loved cherries so much I made a song up about them and sang it during cherry season. It was more like a hymn, really. An ode to the fleeting fruit, it contained just one lyric, “cheeeerriiiess” which I’d sing half-dazed as I ate them by the bowlful. It was called “Cherries.”
I still love cherries and when cherry season hits (spring through mid-summer) all the memories come flooding back. There’s nothing quite like plucking a ripe one from its tiny stem with your teeth, and if you’re in a place where it’s acceptable to spit the pit a few meters, all the better. But if you’ve plucked all you can, for now, then you might be wondering what to do with the rest of your cherry haul. As you might have guessed, we have ideas.
Staub Ceramic Serving Bowl, $24.95 from Sur La Table
A dashing bowl to display a mountain of red cherries.
Cherries have a naturally deep base flavor and it doesn’t generally take much total cherry meat for that sweet and sour flavor to find its way into a sauce, relish, cocktail, or dessert. Try boiling a few down with sugar (to taste) and water and strain for an easy cherry simple syrup for splashing into bourbon cocktails or make an easy cherry jam to give your jars of grape and strawberry preserves a day off.
Duck makes a lovely pairing with cherries. You can do a compote (see the pork chop recipe below) or just add some sliced ripe cherries into a panini with smoked duck and let the good times roll. Get our Smoked Duck and Cherry Pressed Sandwich recipe.
YouTensils Cherry Pitter, $19.99 from Amazon
Pit six cherries at once and get to the fun part (eating) faster.
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Okay, admit it, that grilled chicken sandwich or piece of white fish is starting to feel a little played out. What do you need? A fiery, smoky, and fruity homemade hot sauce to singe those mid-summer BBQ blues away. Get our Smoked Cherry Hot Sauce recipe. Not into smoky so much? We got you covered with a bright Cherry Bomb Hot Sauce recipe.
Related Reading: Spice Up Your Summer with These Fruit-Based Hot Sauce Recipes
Alright, bust that grill back out and snag a few pork chops from the butcher while you’re at it. Fatty pork is always a nice partner with fruit and this cherry sauce will make good use of your extra stash. Use port or sherry if you have it on hand, but a big red wine would work in a pinch—just kick in a little extra balsamic. Get our Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce Recipe.
10-Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar, $19.95 from Sur La Table
A good aged balsamic is a fabulous friend of cherries indeed.
We have a bit of an obsession with this one at the Chowhound offices. It’s wild, yes, but when you think about it long enough it’s not so crazy. Use the leftover cherry relish on a piece of grilled chicken or mahi mahi with squeeze of fresh lime. Get our Spiral Hot Dog with Cherry Relish recipe.
Related Reading: Why You Should Always Spiral Cut Your Hot Dogs
A good homemade maraschino cherry can absolutely mean the difference between a good and great cocktail, sundae, or anything else that calls for one. These couldn’t be simpler to make but do take about 3 weeks to infuse so plan accordingly. Get our Homemade Maraschino Cherries recipe.
I can’t think of something more crave-able on a hot summer afternoon than this bourbon and fresh cherry frozen slush. You don’t need much save for a few easy to come by ingredients and a good blender. Get our Slushy Cherry Old Fashioned recipe.
Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender, $349.95 from Sur La Table
For super smooth slushies.
Related Reading: 11 Slushy Cocktails for a Cool Summer
Hopefully, this summer finds you by a campfire at least once. Camping is a true simple joy but it can be tough to come by good eats; that’s why we love this easy campfire cherry cobbler that requires very few things. Normally we’d say vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream but a canister of it may have to do this time. Just use your plain cast iron Dutch oven over the flames and save your precious enameled Le Creuset for home use. Get our Campfire Cherry Cobbler recipe.
Related Reading: How to Store & Dispose of Food While Camping
A perfect summer dessert, clafoutis is as fun to say as it is delicious to eat. If you do it right it’ll be light and puffy as a cloud with those tart cherries cutting through each slice. Get our Cherry Clafouti recipe.
Roasting cherries with fresh orange juice and zest, sugar, and vanilla results in a jammy topping that’s great on everything from ice cream to pancakes (or matzo brei). Get our Matzo Brei with Roasted Cherries recipe.
For more, check out the rest of our cherry recipes.