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Local Cherries Finally Hitting the Markets

*Cherries are beginning to arrive in our local markets soon (we have been waiting!)

*Local varieties: Bing is King – but early varies such as Chelan are followed by Rainier, Lapin, Skeena, Sweetheart, Queen Ann, and Lambert.

*Eaten right out of hand or in recipes from beverages to salads to entrees to desserts – enjoy cherries as much as you can this season.

One of my favorite easy apps is Cherry Bings – so easy you don’t even need a recipe! Pit big Bing cherries (and if you don’t have a pitter, use a disposable wood chop stick; I know you have in your kitchen drawer, to poke out the pit!) Enrobe in some goat cheese and then roll in some toasted almonds – that’s it, just refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

My other favorite cherry recipe is Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd, it is the perfect recipe to batch, and then just chill out and enjoy. (recipe below)

I also love a fresh cherry salsa over grilled salmon – an amazing pairing, and so good with a glass of Pinot or Merlot.  How do you make that cherry salsa you ask?….it’s easy, just combine diced fresh cherries, a little finely minced onion, chopped cilantro and some fresh lime, salt, and a splash of sweet chili sauce brings it all together. -Kathy

Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd
Makes about 10 servings

1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 1/2 cups sprigs)
3 cups Bacardi Limón rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
1/4 cup clear cherry liqueur, such as Maraska Maraschino Liqueur
3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Loads of ice for serving
Two 10-ounce bottles soda water

Garnishes
Fresh mint sprigs
Fresh cherries on the stem

In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, combine the mint, rum, sugar, lime juice, liqueur, and pitted cherries. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For each serving, fill a large rocks glass or tumbler with ice and measure in 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of the rum mixture (I like to use a ladle to do this), being sure to get some of the cherries into each glass. Top with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of soda. Stir, then garnish with a mint sprig and a cherry.

Chef’s Note: You can make the cherry-rum mixture up to 3 days in advance and keep it refrigerated—the flavors will just get better and better.

Recipe © Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook

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