I have a hoarding instinct that kicks in when it comes to fruits like cherries that have such a short growing season (depending on where you live, roughly from June to August). I buy as many bags of cherries as I can get my hands on.

Of course I love eating cherries right off the stem but working in the EatingWell Test Kitchen has inspired me to get creative with my seasonal ingredients. (Get 25 recipes using fresh-from-the-farmers-market ingredients here.)

There are two basic types of cherries-sweet and sour. Sweet cherry varieties include Bing, Rainier and Lambert. Sweet cherries can be found in the produce section of most markets during cherry season. I try to look for cherries that are firm, plump and shiny without soft spots or bruising. All varieties are a source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C.

Since cherry season is starting I've got my favorite sweet cherry recipes at the ready. Here are four of the recipes I plan on making to feed my sweet-cherry fetish and keep my mouth watering:

  • 1. I'll use them inCherry Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust-a melt-in- your-mouth pie perfect for an early summer evening.
  • 2. If I'm having a snack attack, I'll smear someCherry Cream Cheeseon a whole-wheat cracker or two (all for a less than 100 calories!).
  • 3. And when cherry season is long past, I'll reach for a bag of frozen cherries in my freezer and whip up a thick and tangyCherry-Vanilla Bean Milkshakeso I can re-live cherry season all over again.
  • 4. Finally, I'll mix cherries with another one of my favorite fruits, blueberries, in an easyCherry-Blueberry Trifle recipe. It's easy enough for a weeknight treat, but elegant enough for company. Yum!