There are two main species of cherries: sweet and sour. Most sold in markets are sweet. Sour cherries are generally used in processed foods, preserves and juices, and to make cherry brandy. About 50 varieties are grown in Australia, with more being developed. The more widely available varieties include: Merchants, Supreme, Ron Seedlings, Bing, Lapin, Sweetheart and Sweet Georgia. These range from light red to an almost black skin, with red flesh and sweet juice. The morello cherry, a sour variety, is grown predominantly in Europe, although there are some growers in Australia’s southern states.
Cherries are harvested ripe and are best stored in the fridge. Wash and dry, then loosely pack in a covered container before refrigerating. Leave stems attached as they help to keep cherries fresh.
PURCHASING AUSTRALIAN CHERRIES
Buy fresh cherries direct from the growers at biteriot.com.au. The Hall family has been growing quality produce for more than 40 years at the foot of Mt Canobolas in Orange, NSW, Australia’s highest altitude cherry-growing region. Rich volcanic soil, clean mountain water, warm, sunny days and cool, clear nights combine to create the ideal conditions for cherries.
Apricots Berries: blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries
Asparagus Beans: butter, flat, green
Lettuces Onions: green, spring
PREP + COOK TIME 30 MINUTES (+ COOLING) MAKES ABOUT 3 CUPS (750ML)
½ cup (125ml) marsala (fortified wine)
½ cup (125ml) malt vinegar
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 bay leaf
4 whole cloves
1kg cherries, stones removed
1 Cook marsala, vinegar, sugar, bay leaf and cloves in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add cherries; bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until cherries have just softened and liquid is reduced slightly.
2 Spoon cherries into hot sterilised jars; seal with lids. Cool to room temperature.
3 Serve with turkey, ham or roast pork.
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