Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries

Fresh cherries only come around once a year and now's the time to take advantage of the season's bounty. I've been gorging on these beauties. And why not? Besides being incredibly sweet and juicy, they're loaded with Vitamin C and important disease-fighting phytochemicals.

There's lots of varieties at the market, but my two favorites are the Bing and Ranier. Typically, the darker the cherry, the sweeter the taste, but I find the yellow-rose Rainers to be even sweeter than the mahogany-red Bings.

Whatever your preference, look for plump, firm cherries with pliable green stems. Dry stems mean old cherries. And don't pull off those stems until you're ready to start eating, since removing them promotes spoiling. Likewise, only wash what you plan to eat, because rinsing encourages molding.

Because cherries are fully ripened when you purchase them, they'll only keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Good news: they also freeze well if you want to use them a few months down the road.

When preparing recipes with cherries, pitting them with a knife can be rather tedious. Trust me. Save yourself some time and aggravation by picking up a handy-dandy cherry pitter.

How 'bout taking a gastronomical tour through cyberspace? Here's 10 tasty raw, vegan cherry recipes for you to enjoy:

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