You can’t eat just one.
I’m talking about sweet cherries. Especially when you are driving through America’s fruit basket–Washington’s Yakima Valley.
Passing by all of the orchards bursting with luscious fruits, it feels like you could reach your arm out the car window and grab a handful of cherries off the tree.
It’s not just any cherry season, but may be a record setting year. This means good prices and a good long season stretching into mid-July.
Here are some fun cherry facts:
- Nearly three-fourths of cherry purchases are impulse buys
- Cherries contain high levels of natural melatonin, which helps you sleep
- Chelan is the earliest Northwest cherry variety
- the NW cherry harvest is predicted to reach nearly 23 million 20-pound boxes
I’m grateful for all of those laborers who toil in the dry heat of summer so that we can enjoy all the cherries we can eat. Driving past the fields and packing houses, I think of all the work involved in harvesting, sorting and shipping this crop to market.
Good food is hard work.
This recipe for sweet cherries in dark chocolate syrup is from an Oregonian story I wrote several years ago, and you can read the full article here.
However you’re enjoying sweet cherries this year, I hope you’re getting your fill.
Dark Chocolate Cherries
How to extend sweet cherry season? Make a jar full of cherries submerged in simple syrup flavored with dark chocolate. Warm them to enjoy as an ice cream topping or for unforgettable brownies à la mode. Or, make chocolate-cherry ice cream sodas using equal parts soda water and syrup poured over scoops of vanilla ice cream.
- 1 pound rinsed, stemmed fresh sweet red cherries (pitted or unpitted)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
- 2 ounces chopped premium dark chocolate 60 percent to 75 percent
Place the cherries in a 1-quart canning jar and set aside.
Put the chocolate in a bowl. Remove syrup from the heat and whisk into the chocolate until melted and smooth.
Stir together the water, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the water comes to a boil. Stop stirring and boil the syrup uncovered for 5 minutes.
Pour hot syrup over the cherries to cover]. Screw on the lid securely and gently shake to mix. Steep at room temperature until cool and store in the refrigerator for 2 days before using.