I don’t think there is a more visually appealing fruit than fresh cherries, and their versatility and rich flavor make them the perfect stone fruit.
In a salad, fresh off a tree, topping a cake, flavoring tea—the juicy fruit makes me positively Seuss-like.
My childhood friend had a cherry tree in her backyard, and one warm summer afternoon, we both filled our bowls and ate enough cherries to fill a pie. Our fingers were stained red and the pits formed a small mountain, but when her mother made fresh cherry pierogies later, we had some of those too. That’s the thing about cherries—there are never enough! So as soon as the season’s first cherries came in, I ordered a bag of red and a bag of Rainier and went wild.
There’s a diner by my place that opened in the ‘30s, and they have the best egg cream, milkshake, and cherry limeade in town.
While I imagine they use bottled cherry juice or maraschinos (both, of course, make the drink quite delicious), I attempted to make a cherry limeade au natural.
I took a pound of pitted red cherries, lime juice from 2 limes, and a half cup of sugar and brought the mixture to a boil on the stove.
From there, I let it simmer for about 20 minutes, mashing up the cherries as I went along. When the mixture has cooled, you just strain the juice out, add it to the bottom of a drink container with the juice of 6-8 limes, 6 cups of cold water, lots of ice, and ½-1 cup of sugar (more or less depending on taste).
While I waited for it to bake and cool (so I could add freshly whipped cream), I put together a really simple and refreshing salad, making my own cherry-lime vinaigrette to top it.
For the vinaigrette, you can simply blend 10-15 red cherries, the juice of 2 limes, a tablespoon of honey or sugar, and then whisk grapeseed oil, salt, and pepper into the mix. Add halved red cherries, crumbled bleu cheese, and toasted hazelnuts to fresh mixed greens and top with vinaigrette.
Cherried out yet? Me neither. Good thing the season is just getting started!