Food & Cooking Tips

Tips For Buying Cherries

Excellent as dessert fruit, most sweet cherries found in food stores are produced in the Western states and are available from May through August. Red tart cherries, also called sour or pie cherries and used mainly in cooked desserts, have a softer flesh, lighter red color, and a tan flavor. They generally are shipped to processing plants and are sold frozen or canned. Look for: A very dark color is your most important indication of good flavor and maturity in sweet cherries. Bing, Black Tartarian, Schmidt, Chapman, and Republican varieties should range from deep maroon or mahogany red to black for richest flavor. Lambert cherries should be dark red. Rainier cherries should be straw-colored. Good cherries have bright, glossy, plump-looking surfaces and fresh-looking stems. Avoid: Overmature cherries lacking in flavor, indicated by shriveling, dried stems, and a generally dull appearance. Decay is fairly common at times on sweet cherries, but because of the normal dark color, decayed areas are often inconspicuous. Soft, leaking flesh, brown discoloration, and mold growth are indications of decay. Courtesy of Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO, 81009