Happy Independence day! There are few better ways to celebrate on a hot summer day than with a bowl of fresh Wisconsin sweet cherries. Maybe you found some from one of our local Hudson-area farmer’s markets (hint: the co-op’s latest newsletter lists all of them!) or grocers… Now let’s talk about how to use those cherries!
Often, sweet cherries are harvested late June into July in Wisconsin, which is one of the top U.S. growers of sweet cherries.
Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, sweet cherries are also high in fiber, vitamin A, folate and iron.
How to Select:
Look for cherries that are large, glossy, and firm with even, deep coloring.
How to Store:
Store cherries in produce bags in the refrigerator for up to a week and wash just before preparing/eating. If you plan to serve them fresh, bring them up to room temperature before serving for best flavor. Cherries also freeze well or can be preserved in chutneys, jams, or sauces.
How to Prepare:
With such a short peak season, cherries seem like a treasure eaten on their own, but they also make desserts like Black Forest Cake and cherry ice cream unforgettable. If you plan to use them in recipes, you may want to invest in a cherry pitter, which makes the work of removing their pits a bit less tedious. They work well added to breakfasts of hot or cold cereals, yogurt, and breads (pancakes, waffles, muffins), and add bold color to fruit or vegetable salads. On the savory side of things, chopped, pitted sweet cherries add interest to a mayonnaise-based chicken salad, and cherry chutneys make a great topping for grilled chicken, lamb, pork, or duck.
Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Cherry Chutney
Total Time: 15 minutes active, 60-75 total
This flavorful cherry chutney transforms ordinary grilled chicken. The chutney is also delicious on lamb, pork and duck.
- 1/2 pound fresh cherries, washed and pitted
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup apple, diced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon peeled, minced ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (more for spicier chutney)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except the chicken, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for about 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent burning and sticking. The chutney is finished once it has thickened and there is almost no liquid.
Preheat grill to medium high heat. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and grill 5-6 minutes on each side until juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove from heat to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes before serving, topped with the chutney.
390 calories, 6 g. fat, 145 mg. cholesterol, 281 mg. sodium, 280 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. fiber, 53 g. protein
You will find a Zucchini Bread with Walnuts and Cherries recipe in Vegetables Illustrated by Cook’s Illustrated, which may help you use up yet another produce item abundant at this time of year. The book is available at the Hudson Public Library.
What about you?
What’s your favorite way to savor the cherries of summer? Share your thoughts and recipes over on our Facebook page! Want to see more local, fresh produce in your fridge? Consider becoming an owner of the Hudson Grocery Cooperative—which will be a locally-owned, full-service grocery store that offers diverse food and product choices including organic, sustainable and regionally sourced options for our community.
Image and recipe credit: Welcome to the Table