25 Ways to Use Cherries

By: Contributor
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Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Cherries have started popping up locally, and it’s practically our patriotic duty to devour them. Cherries are a small stone fruit (think peaches and nectarines) that pack a healthful punch. Tart cherries are high in melatonin, which helps you calm down and settle into a deep sleep at night. Tart cherry juice has also been proven to reduce post-workout soreness. Sweet cherries contain lots of antioxidants; the darker the cherry, the more antioxidants it packs in. One cup of sweet cherries contains about the same amount of potassium as a small banana. So get going on these recipes!

Worried about pits? You can get a fancy cherry pitter, but I normally just halve the cherries with a paring knife and then pop out the pits. It’s slow-going work but also oddly therapeutic. Enjoy your cherries with these 25 ideas. In no particular order:

  1. Peaches With Balsamic Cherries (pictured above) — it’s like dessert, but easier to fit into your swimsuit after eating.
  2. Don’t forget to pit the cherries for Emeril’s sweet ice cream topping, Cherries Jubilee.
  3. Alex Guarnaschelli tops lemon sorbet with Sauteed Cherries With Grappa and Almonds.
  4. Nadia G. stews sour cherries with orange bitters for her Cherry Pie Inspired by an “Old Fashioned” Cocktail.
  5. Healthy breakfasts don’t have to mean boring breakfasts; start your day with Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal.
  6. I always snuck a few brandied cherries for myself whenever we worked with them in culinary school. They’re syrupy-sweet with a bit of tang from the brandy. Make your own by adding 1 cup sugar and 2 cups brandy to 1 pound pitted and stemmed cherries in a sterilized glass jar. Let them hang out in the refrigerator for 6 weeks and enjoy them for up to a year.
  7. Use those delicious cherries you just brandied for the Duck Breast Crusted With Honeyed Nuts Coffee Infusion and Brandied Cherries recipe.
  8. Got blintzes on the brain? Me too. Whip up some Cherry Vanilla Blintzes With Nectarines and Cherries, Flambeed in Shlivovitz (an Eastern European plum brandy).
  9. Heat up your happy hour with The Cherry-Chipotle Cooler, which uses a mix of cherry puree and adobo sauce for a refreshingly sweet and spicy drink.
  10. Cooking for a crowd can be stressful. Do almost all of the work for the Caramelized Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts With Fontina and Bing Cherries recipe the night before and all you have to do before dinner is pop them in the oven.
  11. Bobby Flay creates a warm cherry sauce made of cherry preserves and kirsch (cherry brandy) for his White Chocolate Rice Pudding With Cherries Jubilee and Sliced Almonds.
  12. Were you a little grossed out when you learned how store-bought maraschino cherries are made? Make your own with this Homemade Maraschino Cherries recipe.
  13. Bobby Flay’s Cinnamon Mascarpone Pancakes With Warm Morello Cherries and Hazelnuts are just what you need to stand out at Sunday brunch.
  14. Enjoy your cherries long after summer’s gone; marinate them for several months in cherry schnapps, then dip them in chocolate with this Chocolate Dipped Cherries recipe.
  15. Your slow cooker isn’t just for winter stews — use it for Sandra Lee’s Pear and Cherry Buckle for a homemade dessert that won’t heat up the house like the oven would.
  16. Sweet and savory have collided for the ultimate dessert: Farmhouse Goat Cheddar Ice Cream Sundaes With Cherry Vanilla Sauce, Spiced Walnuts and Thyme Whipped Cream.
  17. If we broaden our definition of cherries, you’ll find that Sandra Lee’s Cherry Cola Glazed Spare Ribs are sure to be a hit at your next barbecue.
  18. Get your dessert fix without the guilt and dig into Bobby Deen’s Cherry-Chocolate Affogato.
  19. There’s something so right about Aida Mollenkamp’s Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Cookies.
  20. Grilled Sponge Cake With Peach and Cherry Compote utilizes frozen fruit for a quick prep time.
  21. Anne Burrell’s Dried Cherry Almond Scones recipe is a great go-to for lazy summer mornings. I like to make a double batch of scones; after portioning out each scone, I freeze them all on a tray. When they’re nice and firm, I put them all together and store them in a resealable plastic freezer bag. To cook them up, dab with a little milk or egg wash, sprinkle with some sugar and then bake as directed.
  22. If you’re deep-frying a dish this summer, like Paula’s Fried Cherry Walnut Pies, use the side burner on your grill to keep the heat and the mess outside.
  23. Cherry-Almond Couscous is a super simple side dish that can be served warm or cold.
  24. If you’re always on the go during the summer, keep a bagful of Claire Robinson’s Pumpkin Seed Dried Cherry Trail Mix handy for snacking.
  25. Rachael Ray’s Black Cherry and Black Pepper Lamb Chops With Sweet Pea Risotto serve two — perfect for a romantic date night.
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