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I so look forward to cherry season each year!    The first cherries of the season are normally not very sweet, but they will get sweeter each week. 

Some of the most flavorful cherries are the Bings, but there are many other great varieties, such as Brooks, Rainiers, Queen Annes, Lapins, Chelans and Sweethearts.  

Unfortunately, the cherry season is not very long – just a few weeks – so get them while you can!   Here are a few tips to help you choose.

First of all, if possible, buy cherries that are either organic or at least pesticide free.  Many growers use heavy doses of chemical pesticides to keep bugs off the cherries.  Try to avoid that situation, if possible, for your own health.

When choosing cherries, look for a nice, dark color and a firm but plump texture.  Don’t grab cherries by the handsful.  Choose carefully to get the most flavorful cherries into your basket. 

Also, make sure that the stems are fresh and intact.  When the stems are removed, that opens the skin of the cherry and makes it susceptible to mold and decay. 

As well, make sure that the cherries are cool to the touch.  You don’t want cherries that have been sitting in the sun, as the flavor and the texture will start to break down quickly. 

Cherries will store well for up to a week in the refrigerator.  Just store them loosely packed (but unwashed) in a plastic bag.  

Cherries also freeze well.  After rinsing and draining the cherries, spread them out on a baking sheet in an individual layer and freeze them.  After they are frozen, gather the frozen cherries up and put them into a plastic bag.  I like to double-bag them to insure freshness.  They should keep this way for up to a year in the freezer.

Here is one of my favorite recipes using cherries – Cherry Clafoutis.

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