Updated: Mar 26, 2022
Cherries are a small round fruit related to plums, peaches, and nectarines. They are typically bright or dark red. There are 2 main types of cherries - sweet and sour - with the sweet Bing cherry being most popular in Michigan.
HOW TO SELECT AND STORE
Choose cherries that are large and plump, shiny, and firm with green stems. Avoid those small and soft or bruised, or that have cracks or cuts. Cherries without stems will rot faster. Store them unwashed and loosely in a plastic bag in your fridge. They will keep for up to 1 week. If you notice some are going bad, discard them before they speed up the rotting of others. If you freeze them, remove the pits first to avoid them taking on an almond-like flavor.
HOW TO PREPARE
Wash cherries when you are ready to eat them and sit out until they come to room temperature to bring out their fullest flavor. Cherries can be eaten raw, cooked into sauces, dried, or canned into jars using a water bath (this is safer than pressure canning because of their low acidity). If you aren't eating them off their stem, use a paring knife to open the cherry and remove its pit. Once cut, their color fades fast so keep cut cherries in a bowl of water with lemon juice. To cook them down for a sauce or topping, cook only a few minutes to keep their mixture and color.
A LITTLE HERE, A LITTLE THERE
Add to salads, yogurts, or cereals
Mix dried cherries into oatmeal or trail mix
Poach in water and wine to make a sauce for pork or children.
WHAT DO YOU GET FROM THEM?
DID YOU KNOW
Michigan produces up to 77 percent of the tart cherries grown in the United States, with most being produced in the Traverse City area.
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 teaspoons oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1.25# pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2" thick medallions
Season pork medallions with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook meat until there is just a slight blush in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and tent with foil.
Add the remaining teaspoon of oil, shallots, and garlic to the pan. Saute until they begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add wine, balsamic vinegar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the cherries. Cook, slightly smashing cherries, until liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the sauce over the pork medallions and serve.