Harvest of the Month: Cherries

What you crave when you have a hankering for fresh cherries depends on where you live. If you’re a Midwesterner, you’ll probably favor tart cherries; if you live out West, you’re probably thinking of sweet cherries. In other parts of the country, the preferences vary.

These choices aren’t as random as they might seem. The vast majority of cherries grown in the U.S. come from Michigan or Oregon and Washington, with Michigan growing mostly tart cherries and the Northwestern states growing sweeter varieties.

Whatever kind you like, you’ll benefit from them. Cherries carry a big load of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and other nutrients, and they deliver antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. Plus, some athletes say cherry juice aid recovery after a hard workout, and doctors say the potassium and antioxidants in cherries are good for your heart.

While you can find cherries any time of year, late spring is the best time to get fresh ones. When buying cherries, choose fruits that are plump and shiny, with no splits or pockmarks in the skins. If you’re not eating them right away, don’t wash them and don’t pluck the stems. Instead, remove any damaged fruit and put the cherries in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat them, rinse them well and enjoy.

View May’s Recipe: Cherry Poppins

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