All about cherries: varieties, storing, using, and 100+ recipes

Blink and they’re gone. Cherry season is short, very short, so make sure to make the most of them while they’re around.

And if it’s not those 2 blessed weeks of summer when you can pick your cherries right off the tree, you can always buy frozen or tinned.

Season

As with most produce, the exact time of cherry season depends on where you live and your local climate. Most cherries are only available for 2 or 3 weeks, some varieties shorter, others as long as 2 months. But depending on the place and variety, they can range anywhere between May to September, with most being ripe at some point in early June to late July.

Varieties

Cherries are very much like apples, in that there are loads of varieties. Some are more popular than others, and only a few are available in supermarkets. Specific varieties will vary by country, but in general bing and morello can be found everywhere. In general cherries can be classified by sweet, sour, and mixed or hybrid.

If you want to get a cherry tree for your house, make sure it’s a local variety. Those will grow best and produce the best fruit. It’s also a good idea to go for a self-pollinating variety.

Those who are interested in learning about a lot of different varieties of cherries can check this excellent list with descriptions.

Buying

When buying cherries always go for shiny cherries with a smooth skin. If the stalks are still attached, choose the ones that are bright green.

Cherries should feel slightly heavy for their size. And you should avoid any cherries that are wrinkly, bruised, or soft.

Colour is not a good way to check for ripeness, as different varieties will have different colouring. In general, lighter cherries are sweeter, and darker ones are more tart. But this rule doesn’t always work.

Cherries can also be bought frozen, preserved, or dried. The texture of all three is very different from fresh berries, but they are good options when you want to use cherries outside of their season.

Storing

Cherries won’t last long once taken from the tree, hence the high price when bought fresh. You can keep them unrefrigerated, but the hot summer weather can make them go soft in 1 or 2 days.

Kept in a fridge, they will last up to a week, depending on how fresh they were when bought. If you know you won’t be able to use them fast enough, cherries can be frozen. But in in mind that the texture will change once thawed.

Using

Fresh cherries can be eaten straight of the tree (though you may want to give them a bit of a clean before doing so).

If you’re going to cook with the cherries, make sure you remove all the stalk and the stones. You can use a cherry stoner to do it. It will be a worthwhile buy if you enjoy cooking with cherries. If you don’t often use cherries, you can cute them in half and remove the pit manually. It can take quite a while, but it’s not hard to do.

Sour cherries are fantastic for cooking with, you can make them sweeter by adding sugar for pies, jams, and crumbles, and the tartness will work in savoury recipes too.

Alternatives

If you can’t find (or afford!) cherries, most berries and stone fruits will make for a good alternative if you want to keep a similar flavour. If the cooked texture is what you’re after, then apples or pears are the best option. Ideally, you would use a mix of both for the best results.

Flavour combinations

Most people think of cherries as a fruit that can only be paired with sweet flavours, but that’s not true.

Cherries can pair with a large number of different foods, some that you probably wouldn’t consider.

  • Nuts and seeds in general, especially almonds, pistachios and walnuts
  • Fruits: berries, all citrus, all stone fruits, pineapple, watermelon, coconut, apple, pear, raisins
  • Spices: black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, chili, saffron, ginger, and spicy things in general
  • Chocolate, especially dark and white
  • Caramel, all kinds
  • Herbs: sage, thyme, basil, mint
  • Proteins: pork, salmon, lamb, chicken, chickpeas
  • Alcoholic drinks: amaretto, bourbon, brandy, kirsch, rum, vodka, wine (especially dry reds)
  • Vegetables: leafy greens (especially bitter ones like rocket or watercress), radish, onion, peppers, carrots
  • Dairy: cream, ice cream, yogurt, soft cheeses, sharp cheeses
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Coffee

100+ cherry recipes

I usually try to keep these lists limited to about 50 recipes, but there are so many amazing recipes online that include cherries! I had to restrain myself to make sure the list didn’t grow to be over 200 recipes.

I haven’t used all these recipes, but I would like to at some point as I think they are all interesting.

Cherries in sweet recipes

  1. Ambrosia salad, by delish
  2. Apricot cherry galette, by Simply recipes
  3. Best-ever cherry jam, by delish
  4. Black cherry bellini, by Kitchen sanctuary
  5. Black cherry granita, by olive magazine
  6. Black forest cheesecake, by olive magazine
  7. Boozy cherry bombs, by delish
  8. Bourbon cherry crisp, by Simply recipes
  9. Bourbon cherry no-churn ice cream, by supergolden bakes
  10. Cherries poached in red wine with mascarpone cream, by FOOD & WINE
  11. Cherry 75, by BBC Food (a variation on the French 75 cocktail)
  12. Cherry & cinnamon conserve, by BBC GoodFood
  13. Cherry and ricotta tart, by The Guardian
  14. Cherry bakewell sponge pudding, by BBC GoodFood
  15. Cherry cheesecake dip, by delish
  16. Cherry cordial, by FOOD & WINE
  17. Cherry crumble, by BBC GoodFood
  18. Cherry crumble cake, by BBC GoodFood
  19. Cherry dump cake, by delish
  20. Cherry flans, by Jamie Oliver
  21. Cherry frangipane tart, by BBC GoodFood
  22. Cherry fro-yo, by delicious.
  23. Cherry ice cream with chocolate chips, by Simply recipes
  24. Cherry iced tea mocktail, by Jamie Oliver
  25. Cherry jam and almond galettes, by olive magazine
  26. Cherry lassi, by the curry guy
  27. Cherry lemonade, by Kitchen Simmer
  28. Cherry meringue pie, by delicious.
  29. Cherry pie, by BBC GoodFood
  30. Cherry, pistachio and rose tart, by delicious.
  31. Cherry pop cocktail, by Simple recipes (gin-based)
  32. Cherry puff pastry pies, by delish
  33. Cherry ripe balls (no bake), by Bake Play Smile
  34. Cherry ripple & almond crunch ice cream, by BBC GoodFood
  35. Cherry ripple ice cream, by olive magazine
  36. Cherry scones, by BBC GoodFood
  37. Cherry shortbread hearts, by BBC GoodFood
  38. Cherry smoothie, by BBC GoodFood
  39. Cherry swirl cheesecake, by BBC GoodFood
  40. Choc-cherry fudge torte with cherry sorbet, by BBC GoodFood
  41. Chocolate cherry smoothie, by Hungry Healthy Happy
  42. Chocolate-covered cherries, by delish
  43. Double cherry semifreddo, by BBC GoodFood
  44. Easy cherry compote, by BBC GoodFood
  45. Easy cherry jam, by BBC GoodFood
  46. Flourless chocolate cherry cake, by Kitchen Sanctuary (it uses almond flour)
  47. Fresh cherry and coconut lamingtons, by olive magazine
  48. Gooey chocolate cherry cookies, by BBC GoodFood
  49. Homemade cherry curd, by Larder Love
  50. Homemade Christmas jam, by Taste of Home
  51. Homemade kirsch, by Larder Love
  52. Kirschmichel cherry casserole, by Where is my spoon?
  53. Le Talleyrand, by Simple recipes (multi-layered flambe dessert)
  54. Lime and fresh cherry hand pies, by veggie desserts
  55. Mary’s royal cherry trifle, by BBC GoodFood (the Mary in question is Mary Berry).
  56. Michigan cherry Japanese-style cheesecake, by Taste of Home
  57. Mini cherry clafoutis, by BBC GoodFood
  58. No bake cherry cheesecake, by one jive
  59. Preserved cherries in red wine syrup, by Larder Love
  60. Raymond Blanc’s cherry clafoutis, by delicious.
  61. Roasted buttered cherries with orange sabayon and toasted almonds, by delicious.
  62. Sour cherry and goat’s cheese zuccotto, by delicious.
  63. Sour cherry and rhubarb yeast tart, by delicious.
  64. Sour-cherry lambic sorbet, by FOOD & WINE
  65. Sour cherry stollen bars, by olive magazine
  66. Spanish style spiced cherry cheese, by Larder Love (not a milk cheese, but a thick jam)
  67. Spiced cherries in vodka, by delicious.
  68. Spumoni ice cream cake, by delish
  69. Sweet cherry cobbler, by Simply recipes
  70. Sweet ‘n salty chocolate bark, by delish
  71. Swiss cherry conserve, by delicious.
  72. Traditional cherry pie, by delicious.
  73. Upside-down cherry torte, by olive magazine
  74. Vegan cherry & almond brownies, by BBC GoodFood
  75. Watermelon, cherry and raspberry ice pop, by delicious.
  76. Yoghurt panna cotta with cherry sauce, by delicious.

Cherries in savoury recipes

  1. Burrata with pickled cherries and hazelnuts, by delicious.
  2. Cherry & pistachio stuffing, by BBC GoodFood
  3. Cherry barbecue sauce, by a life of geekery
  4. Cherry barbecue sauce, by Taste of Home
  5. Cherry bruschetta, by BBC GoodFood
  6. Cherry chard wild rice, by Jamie Oliver
  7. Cherry-glazed duck breast on brioche toast, by delicious.
  8. Cherry Waldorf salad, by Taste of Home
  9. Chicken, cherry and almond salad, by delicious.
  10. Chilled sour cherry soup with fennel & sour cream, by FOOD & WINE
  11. Duck confit with sour cherry sauce and apple, fennel and walnut salad, by delicious.
  12. Easy homemade spicy cherry chutney, by Larder Love
  13. Fennel, cherry & goat’s cheese salad with lentils, by BBC GoodFood
  14. Goat’s curd, pickled cherry and pecan toast, by olive magazine
  15. Lamb meatballs with sour cherries, pomegranates & pistachios, by BBC GoodFood
  16. Northwest cherry salsa, by Taste of Home
  17. Pickled cherries, by BBC GoodFood
  18. Pickled cherries, by olive magazine
  19. Pickled cherry, gorgonzola and rocket salad, by olive magazine
  20. Pork chops with cherry sauce, by Taste of Home
  21. Puy lentils with spinach & sour cherries, by BBC GoodFood
  22. Rhubarb-cherry chutney, by Taste of Home
  23. Roast duck with sausage, green and spiced cherries, by BBC Food
  24. Savory cherry compote, by Simply recipes
  25. Spiced cherry chutney, by Taste of Home
  26. Veal terrine with cherry sauce, by delicious.
  27. Venison fillet with cherry crumbs, by delicious.

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