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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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 keep in mind that the texture will change once thawed.
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.
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.
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, chilli, 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
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
- Ambrosia salad, by delish
- Apricot cherry galette, by Simply recipes
- Best-ever cherry jam, by delish
- Black cherry bellini, by Kitchen sanctuary
- Black cherry granita, by olive magazine
- Black forest cheesecake, by olive magazine
- Boozy cherry bombs, by delish
- Bourbon cherry crisp, by Simply recipes
- Bourbon cherry no-churn ice cream, by supergolden bakes
- Cherries poached in red wine with mascarpone cream, by FOOD & WINE
- Cherry 75, by BBC Food (a variation on the French 75 cocktail)
- Cherry & cinnamon conserve, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry and ricotta tart, by The Guardian
- Cherry bakewell sponge pudding, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry cheesecake dip, by delish
- Cherry cordial, by FOOD & WINE
- Cherry crumble, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry crumble cake, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry dump cake, by delish
- Cherry flans, by Jamie Oliver
- Cherry frangipane tart, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry fro-yo, by delicious.
- Cherry ice cream with chocolate chips, by Simply recipes
- Cherry iced tea mocktail, by Jamie Oliver
- Cherry jam and almond galettes, by olive magazine
- Cherry lassi, by the curry guy
- Cherry lemonade, by Kitchen Simmer
- Cherry meringue pie, by delicious.
- Cherry pie, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry, pistachio and rose tart, by delicious.
- Cherry pop cocktail, by Simple recipes (gin-based)
- Cherry puff pastry pies, by delish
- Cherry ripe balls (no bake), by Bake Play Smile
- Cherry ripple & almond crunch ice cream, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry ripple ice cream, by olive magazine
- Cherry scones, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry shortbread hearts, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry smoothie, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry swirl cheesecake, by BBC GoodFood
- Choc-cherry fudge torte with cherry sorbet, by BBC GoodFood
- Chocolate cherry smoothie, by Hungry Healthy Happy
- Chocolate-covered cherries, by delish
- Double cherry semifreddo, by BBC GoodFood
- Easy cherry compote, by BBC GoodFood
- Easy cherry jam, by BBC GoodFood
- Flourless chocolate cherry cake, by Kitchen Sanctuary (it uses almond flour)
- Fresh cherry and coconut lamingtons, by olive magazine
- Gooey chocolate cherry cookies, by BBC GoodFood
- Homemade cherry curd, by Larder Love
- Homemade Christmas jam, by Taste of Home
- Homemade kirsch, by Larder Love
- Kirschmichel cherry casserole, by Where is my spoon?
- Le Talleyrand, by Simple recipes (multi-layered flambe dessert)
- Lime and fresh cherry hand pies, by veggie desserts
- Mary’s royal cherry trifle, by BBC GoodFood (the Mary in question is Mary Berry).
- Michigan cherry Japanese-style cheesecake, by Taste of Home
- Mini cherry clafoutis, by BBC GoodFood
- No bake cherry cheesecake, by one jive
- Preserved cherries in red wine syrup, by Larder Love
- Raymond Blanc’s cherry clafoutis, by delicious.
- Roasted buttered cherries with orange sabayon and toasted almonds, by delicious.
- Sour cherry and goat’s cheese zuccotto, by delicious.
- Sour cherry and rhubarb yeast tart, by delicious.
- Sour-cherry lambic sorbet, by FOOD & WINE
- Sour cherry stollen bars, by olive magazine
- Spanish style spiced cherry cheese, by Larder Love (not a milk cheese, but a thick jam)
- Spiced cherries in vodka, by delicious.
- Spumoni ice cream cake, by delish
- Sweet cherry cobbler, by Simply recipes
- Sweet ‘n salty chocolate bark, by delish
- Swiss cherry conserve, by delicious.
- Traditional cherry pie, by delicious.
- Upside-down cherry torte, by olive magazine
- Vegan cherry & almond brownies, by BBC GoodFood
- Watermelon, cherry and raspberry ice pop, by delicious.
- Yoghurt panna cotta with cherry sauce, by delicious.
Cherries in savoury recipes
- Burrata with pickled cherries and hazelnuts, by delicious.
- Cherry & pistachio stuffing, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry barbecue sauce, by a life of geekery
- Cherry barbecue sauce, by Taste of Home
- Cherry bruschetta, by BBC GoodFood
- Cherry chard wild rice, by Jamie Oliver
- Cherry-glazed duck breast on brioche toast, by delicious.
- Cherry Waldorf salad, by Taste of Home
- Chicken, cherry and almond salad, by delicious.
- Chilled sour cherry soup with fennel & sour cream, by FOOD & WINE
- Duck confit with sour cherry sauce and apple, fennel and walnut salad, by delicious.
- Easy homemade spicy cherry chutney, by Larder Love
- Fennel, cherry & goat’s cheese salad with lentils, by BBC GoodFood
- Goat’s curd, pickled cherry and pecan toast, by olive magazine
- Lamb meatballs with sour cherries, pomegranates & pistachios, by BBC GoodFood
- Northwest cherry salsa, by Taste of Home
- Pickled cherries, by BBC GoodFood
- Pickled cherries, by olive magazine
- Pickled cherry, gorgonzola and rocket salad, by olive magazine
- Pork chops with cherry sauce, by Taste of Home
- Puy lentils with spinach & sour cherries, by BBC GoodFood
- Rhubarb-cherry chutney, by Taste of Home
- Roast duck with sausage, green and spiced cherries, by BBC Food
- Savory cherry compote, by Simply recipes
- Spiced cherry chutney, by Taste of Home
- Veal terrine with cherry sauce, by delicious.
- Venison fillet with cherry crumbs, by delicious.