Sweet cherries are here, and because most are grown along the lengthy West Coast the season lasts from mid-May in California to the end of the harvest in Washington in August. Intensely flavorful and juicy, cherries are not a hard sell. But their long list of powerful nutrients seals the deal: they’re rich in anthocyanins (potent antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties) and boast plenty of blood-pressure-reducing potassium. They often grow in pairs, because multiple flowers bloom from a single bud and when they fruit, the cherries stay together. And these heart-shaped treats really are magical culinary partners when you match them with other foods. Try them in a refreshing cherry lemonade or combined with nutty farro in a hearty summer salad. Or wrap sweetened cherries and creamy ricotta in store-bought crêpes for an easy-to-make blintz. Whether you eat them straight from the bag or tuck them into delightful dishes, with cherries, it’s always a pleasure.
Frisée Salad with Cherries & Blue Cheese
Sweet cherries, earthy blue cheese and salty prosciutto balance each bite in this healthy side salad recipe. If you can’t find frisée, curly endive is a good alternative.
Fresh Cherry Lemonade
This thirst-quenching pink lemonade recipe uses fresh cherries for the pretty pink hue and light flavor. If you like, add a splash of vodka, bourbon or rum to transform this healthy lemonade recipe into a refreshing summer cocktail.
Ready-made crêpes—available near the berries in most produce departments—keep this blintz dessert recipe easy enough for a weeknight but stunning enough for a dinner party. Just a few minutes in the oven melts the lemony ricotta filling to deliciously complement the sweet cherries.
Cherry-Almond Farro Salad
Tossed with a minty vinaigrette, this healthy farro and cherry salad recipe can be served as a light lunch or as a side dish along with grilled chicken, duck or pork. Look for farro—a high-fiber whole grain that is an ancestor of modern wheat—with other whole grains in well-stocked supermarkets and natural-foods stores.