As sweet as they are juicy, greedy and tasty, cherries are like candy that we enjoy finding on market or supermarket stalls, but also on the cherry tree for those who are lucky enough to have a garden. These beautiful red fruits are indeed promises of beautiful tastings as they are or skilfully cooked (desserts, drinks and cocktails, etc.). However, the time for cherries is very short… too short to end up with fruits that are too acidic or not very tasty. It is therefore essential to know how to choose them well in store to stock up on vitamins and make the most of them as long as they are available. Here is how to choose the most delicious cherries, as well as some tips for knowing how to store them properly.
To ensure a good harvest in the orchard, read our tips for protecting cherries from birds.
1) Only buy cherries when it’s in season
The cherry season is going from May (for early varieties) to July with a peak season in June. To savor sweet red fruits full of flavor, it is therefore during this period that you should preferably buy them. Out of season, the fruits are likely to have very little taste and to keep less well.
2) Rely on the appearance of the cherries to choose them well
Color can vary from variety to variety with some cherries darker and others variegated. However, some criteria may still be useful. In general, cherries brilliant with a saturated and very uniform color have a more pleasant and marked aroma. These are therefore the ones to be preferred, because they are a guarantee of good taste. Also, be sure to take fruits that do not show no visible defects (bruises, brown spots, wrinkles, etc.). Indeed, those that are damaged, stained or bruised generally do not keep very long. These cherries are also more likely to be soft and very sour. You will have understood it: a shiny and traceless skin will be more than preferable for a pleasant tasting.
3) Choose cherries that still have their stems
The stem of the cherries (or peduncle) also says a lot about them. If the peduncle is still firmly attached, this is already a very good sign. Indeed, it is a sign of freshness which goes further increase the shelf life of these fragile fruits. In addition, prefer to add to your basket the cherries which have a flexible stem and a bright green color, which testifies to a very recent harvest. On the other hand, beware of cherries without a peduncle or if it has a brown tint.
4) Take very firm fruits preferably
It may seem surprising, but it is not uncommon for the softest cherries to be the most acidic in addition to not keeping as well. To feast, it would therefore preferably be take firm fruit, especially if you do not intend to consume them or cook them very quickly. You should preferably consume your cherries within 24 hours for optimal freshness of the product.
5) Choose the right variety for cherries adapted to your needs
In the supermarket, you don’t necessarily always have the choice between different varieties. However, when you can actually choose, it can be difficult to know what to take. We find mainly the cherries (red or white, firm, crunchy and sweet). However, it may also happen to find cherries (sweet with soft flesh, ideal for making kirsch), amarelles (sour with a clear juice) and finally the sour cherries (acids with a colored juice). Within these large families, there are different varieties to buy depending on the season, but also your preferences and needs:
-Belle Magnifique: tangy, juicy and melt-in-the-mouth (late maturity: mid-July/early August)
-Burlat: juicy and sweet (maturity between late May/early June)
-Canada Giant: firm and sweet (ripening in mid-June)
– Pigeon heart: firm, sweet and crunchy (maturity at the end of June)
-Early River: fine, juicy and very sweet (ripening in mid-July)
-Géant d’Hedelfingen: firm and crunchy, juicy and well flavored (maturity in mid-June/early July)
-Yellow Buttner: very sweet, fragrant and juicy yellow cherries (maturity between late May/mid-June)
-Karina: very fragrant (maturity between mid-July/mid-August)
-Kelleris: well flavored with a light acidity and therefore perfect in jam or alcohol (ripe in July)
-Kordia: firm, tangy and crunchy (maturity at the end of June/beginning of July)
– Rabbit: crunchy and soft (maturity at the end of June/beginning of July)
-Marmotte: a musky, sweet and tangy scent with a lot of crunch (maturity in mid-June/mid-July)
-Montmorency: THE icing for preservesboth very acidic and juicy (maturity at the end of June)
-Moreau: very firm and very crunchy (maturity between the end of May/beginning of June)
-Napoleon: very juicy and sweet two-tone cherries canned (maturity in mid-June/mid-July)
– Noir de Meched: excellent black cherries with a mild and sweet flavor (ripe at the end of June/mid-July)
-Reverchon: firm (maturity from mid-June to the end of June)
-Stark Hardy Giant: sweet, crunchy and juicy (ripe in June)
-Summit: very firm and sweet (maturity around mid-June)
-Sweetheart: fragrant and sweet (ripening in mid-July)
-Van: firm, crunchy and sweet (ripe in June)
How to optimally preserve your cherries?
Like strawberries or raspberries, cherries are very fragile fruits and not always easy to keep for a long time. It is therefore advisable to consume them very quickly after purchase, ideally within 24 hours and up to three days for maximum freshness. If you eat them quickly, you can keep them at room temperature in their original bag or tray. For longer life, up to about five days, you can also put them in the refrigerator. Be careful, however, to take them out thirty minutes before the tasting, because the cold of the fridge anesthetizes all the flavor !
In any case, be careful never to crush them with other fruits or foods. Also, do not store them not near fruits that give off ethylene (apples, bananas, etc.). They would indeed risk making them rot at high speed! Finally, whether you keep them in the fridge or at room temperature, check them regularly so as to get rid of rotten fruits that could quickly spoil their neighbors.
And for long-term storage?
Freezing will allow you to have cherries all year round without mold. To do this, start by washing them, hulling them and slipping them into a closed airtight bag. Optimal storage in the freezer is six to twelve months. It is also possible to immerse them in alcohol (eau-de-vie, brandy or rum). You can then enjoy them on their own or use them in your recipes and cocktails.
In addition, discover also our tips for removing worms from cherries before eating them as well as ideas for recycling pits.