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What can you do with fresh cherries?

Organic cherries are a limited-time treat. Every time I buy some, I wonder if it will be my last time until next year. So I buy them often while they’re available and use them in a variety of ways. If you haven’t enjoyed them yet this year, buy a bag today and enjoy these sweet, juicy fruits while you can.

Cherries are one of those fruits that are terrific all by themselves. I love them as a snack, and sometimes I just have a bowl of cherries and make it my meal. They’re so satisfying.

If you have a juicer, you can juice pitted cherries to get a marvelously tasty juice—one of the best fruit juices you can enjoy. The flavor is irresistible, and the health benefits are off the charts.

However, cherries are a great add-in too. Cherry smoothies, cherry yogurt, and cherries with other fruits (I like them sliced over cantaloupe) are all yummy. Cherry desserts are wonderful. This Raw Cherry Crisp with Chia and Dates is quick and easy to make, and this raw Lemon-Cherry Cheesecake has quickly become one of my favorite summer desserts. Then there’s this Southern Charm Cherry Cobbler—mmm! None of these requires an oven, so your kitchen stays cool too.

If you have a dehydrator, you can dry some of your cherries and use them throughout the year when the fresh ones are just a happy memory. This recipe for Raw Black Forest Brownies is easy to make with your dried cherries, and it also happens to be gluten-free, paleo, and raw vegan. These Almond, Date, and Dried-Cherry Raw Bars are a great substitute for store-bought energy bars.

Then there are frozen cherries. If you halve your cherries and take care to remove the pits, then freeze them on a cookie sheet with space between the cherries, you will end up with individually frozen cherries that can then be tossed into a zip-lock freezer bag or sealed in a vacuum sealer bag. Then you can take out just the number of cherries you want and reseal the bag. This is a far superior strategy to allowing them to freeze to each other into a solid lump. Frozen cherries can be used in smoothies, and the fact that they are frozen will make the smoothie more like a milkshake. They’re also great in any other cherry recipes you might like. Or you can actually eat them frozen for a cool treat.

If you like to bake, cherries are good in cherry cobblers, cookies, quick breads, pies, cakes, puddings, and pretty much anything. There are lots of recipes on the Internet for cherry desserts and desserts with cherries on top. Cherries Jubilee is one I remember from childhood and always enjoyed. You can just spoon cherries and their juice on top of ice cream, though, and you’ll still have a wonderful treat.

One caveat on cherries: be sure to pit them. There’s nothing worse than sipping a delicious cherry smoothie and finding bits of the pit in your drink. I’ve done it, so I know—it’s sort of like getting a dish of smooth, creamy ice cream and finding some hard foreign object in it, like part of a nut shell.

Cherry pits are toxic if broken, because like apple seeds they contain a small amount of cyanide. So if you do happen to get bits of the pit in your drink, no one would blame you for throwing the rest of your smoothie out, even though it would take more than the cyanide from just one or two pits to hurt you.

When working with a lot of cherries, it's nice to use a cherry pitter. The pitter will not only make it faster and easier to pit your cherries, it will also keep your fingernails from getting stained. I like the pitter I got from Bed Bath and Beyond one year; it lets you pit 4 cherries at a time.

When it comes to fruit, cherries are as good as it gets. They’re delicious, refreshing, versatile, and good for you. Cherries are the royalty of summer fruit!

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