You won’t want to eat imported cherries after eating freshly picked local Sussex / Kent border fruit. Plump and sweet with the density and juiciness that you find when things haven’t been sitting in supermarket chillers for a week or more.
Not just sweet tasting, the deep red colour of the fruit is due to antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides. It’s also been suggested that cherries can be helpful for sleep as they naturally contain melatonin which may help regulate the internal body clock.
So, we are going to make full use of these during our #eatsussex August. The recipes below aren’t making use of all local ingredients, but we will take the basis of these over the month – particularly the creamy cheese, cherry and thyme theme as these flavours are entirely as gorgeous for teatime as they are for entertaining.
How to store cherries
Store unwashed in a fridge and they will keep for up to a week. Don’t store in an airtight container – just cover with a muslin or piece of kitchen roll otherwise condensation will cause them to mould more quickly.
Wash just before serving as otherwise, the moisture will cause them to split.
How to prepare
If you have a cherry pip remover, then all well and good. If not, just twist off the stem and hold the cherry stem side down onto a chopping board (can release some juice). Just press down with the side of a chef’s knife blade and pop out the pip.
Cherry recipes – not just for puddings and pies
Cherries and cheese work as well as quince or apple. This Martha Stewart recipe calls for Robiola cheese but we would prefer to use a soft Sussex variety such as Sussex Slipcote, High Weald Ricotta or Little Sussex. All these are soft, gentle cheeses with just enough of a citrus tang to balance the sweetness of the cherries. And for olive oil, we’d use nothing but Cate and Vasilis’s Mesto from their own grove of trees in Crete.
Another delicious combination of sweet and spicy in this grilled chicken with cherries, shallots and rocket recipe.
The combination of cherries and creamy cheese seems to follow a natural theme here and we love the sound of Ottolenghi’s Sweet and Salty Cheesecake with Cherries.
For a pudding that makes the most of the sweetness of the fruit is the deliciously dark Chocolate, Cherry and Smoked Paprika Pavlova.
Cherries are natural partners to herbs as their sweetness balances the fragrant spiciness of many more pungent herbs. So a compote of Cherry, Lemon Balm and Mint is a perfect sweet to savoury addition for eating with a roast, or adding to yoghurt or cream for an instant pudding. Instead of sugar, you could use Brighton and Hove Raw honey for a deeper flavour and texture.
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