Bing Cherries —

With their large size, deep mahogany color, crisp, juicy texture and burst of flavor, it’s easy to see why California Bing Cherries are the season’s most anticipated fruit.

Cultivation of sweet cherries likely began with the Greeks, and later the Romans, who valued the trees’ timber as well as its fruit. Sweet cherries came to America in 1629 with English colonists, and later to California with Spanish missionaries. Today’s Bing Cherries come from stock that dates back to the 1800’s, when California became an established cherry production region.

Bings are perfect for snacking out of hand. They are also delicious when pitted and mixed in with yogurt, in sauces, juiced, in preserves and jams, dried, added to oatmeal or cereal, in lemonade, and in fruit and green salads.

Storage: Refrigerate unwashed Bings in a plastic bag. When ready to eat, wash them and let sit until they come to room temperature to bring out their full flavor.

Pork Medallions with Cherry Sauce   – 1# pork tenderloin, Nonstick cooking spray, 3/4 c. Cranberry or apple juice, 2 t. spicy brown mustard, 1 t. cornstarch, 1 c. bing cherries, halved & pitted, Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste.

Trim fat from pork and cut crosswise into 1″ thick slices. Place slices between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. With the heel of your hand, press each slice into a 1/2″ thick medallion. Discard plastic and sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.

Coat a cool large nonstick skilled with spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add pork, cooking for 6 minutes or until just slightly pink in the center, with clear juices. Turn once. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Combine juice, mustard and cornstarch in skillet and cook, stirring, until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in cherries and heat. Serve over pork.

Sugar Cot Apricots — 

Sweet California apricots are the beautiful blushed, peach-colored fruit that signals the arrival of summer. While available dried and canned year ’round, nothing beats eating these sweet juicy gems straight from the tree.

Apricots are full of antioxidants, beta-carotene and fiber, and are a good source of vitamin C. In season in North America from May through August, this Sugar Cot variety is at its peak right now in California.

Along with peaches, nectarines and plums, this member of the “stone fruit” family (those with a large hard seed within) originated in China. The first apricot trees arrived in the U.S. in 1720, and were planted in Virginia orchards. Their appearance in the Spanish missions of California around 1792 marked the fruit’s real arrival, with the climate there perfectly suited for this sun-loving fruit.

Enjoy out of hand or added to yogurt, smoothies or salads. Also wonderful baked into desserts and preserves.

Storage: Place apricots on a flat surface with space between the fruit to ripen at room temperature. Turn occasionally to ripen evenly. When they yield to gentle pressure, they are ripe and ready to eat. Refrigerate ripe fruit.

Baked Apricots w/Almond Topping –  4-1/2 t. unsalted soft butter,  plus additional for baking dish, 1/4 c. whole almonds, skin on, 3 T. packed light-brown sugar, 6 apricots, peeled, halved and pitted.

Preheat oven to 400°F and butter a 9 inch square baking dish. Process almonds and brown sugar in a food processor until almonds are finely chopped. Add butter, process until just combined. Place apricots cut sides up in baking dish. Cover top of each apricot with almond mixture. Bake until apricots are soft and almond mixture is deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer 3 apricot halves to each serving plate. Serve warm. For an added treat, top each with a dollop of sweet whipped cream.

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Tracie Burket
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