Cherry Season at PlacerGROWN and Foothill Farmers' Market
Cherry recipe photo courtesy of Bella Karragiannidis, ful-filled.com
NUTRITION // All the beautiful blooms of the past few months are starting to bear fruit, including one of our favorite fruits: cherries! These ruby-colored jewels are a true favorite at foothill farmers’ markets. Cherries come in two primary varieties: tart and sweet. Bing cherries are the most common sweet variety in our area and best enjoyed fresh; tart cherries, such as the Queen Anne variety, are best for cooking. Sweet cherries contain fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins, which may play a role in cancer prevention; what’s more, one cup contains about as much potassium as a small banana. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory benefits, and can help lower the risk of gout attacks and reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis; drinking the juice may also increase melatonin levels, thus helping you fall asleep.
SELECTION AND STORAGE // Choose sweet cherries that have a deep, dark saturation of color and are firm. If the stems are attached, a bright green color indicates freshness. If there’s no stem, check that there isn’t any wrinkling along the “shoulders” of the fruit or decay at the stem site. Sour cherries are less firm and tend to have a blush of color instead of a solid shade; they can also have brown flecks, which simply indicate further sugar accumulation. Red cherries have this too, but it’s less visible. To prevent splits or spoilage, wash them just before eating. They can also be frozen for future use, either pitted or intact; spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, freeze until firm, then transfer to a bag or container.
DID YOU KNOW? // While a cherry tree will begin producing fruit after five years, it takes 10-15 years for the plant to reach maturity. At that time, one cherry tree can produce more than 100 pounds of fruit per season.
Balsamic Roasted Cherry Crostini
Recipe by Bella Karragiannidis, ful-filled.com
- 1 lb. fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
- 10 oz. chevre goat cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Fresh loaf of bread, cut in 1/2-inch thick slices
- Fresh basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Toss Bing cherries with honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour cherries and any juices onto the parchment lined baking pan and spread into one even layer. Brush each side of the bread slices with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and place the slices on a baking sheet. Bake both the cherries and the bread slices for 20 minutes—flipping the bread over after 10 minutes. Allow the cherries and the toasted bread to cool to room temperature. While the cherries and the bread cool, whip the goat cheese with the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer for about 3 minutes, until the cheese becomes light and fluffy. Spread each piece of toasted bread with the whipped goat cheese and then top with roasted cherries and thinly chopped basil leaves and serve.