Cherries are delicious all year-round!

Michigan is a leading producer of tart cherries, so enjoy this locally grown treat all year round.

Northern Michigan is often touted as the cherry capital of the world! Michigan is the leading producer in the United States of tart cherries, producing 70 to 75 percent annually. Both sweet cherries and tart cherries are a delicious fruit for your family to enjoy.

Tart cherries have been historically viewed as a wonderful fruit for pies and jam. Tart cherries are becoming a more versatile fruit and can be used in a variety of ways. They can be included in smoothies, parfaits and baked goods, while dried cherries can be included in trail mix, cereal or salads. One serving of tart cherries can provide 25 percent of your vitamin A recommendations, as well as being a low-fat, low-calorie food choice.

Fresh picked cherries are best to be consumed right away or preserved for later. When you select tart cherries; purchase fruit that is free from bruising or damage. Michigan State University Extension recommends washing fruit thoroughly under cook running water and storing in the refrigerator.

Cherries can be preserved for use later by a variety of methods. Freezing and canning are both excellent options based on how you want to use the cherries later. Pitted cherries can be frozen in a syrup pack, which is the best method to use for serving uncooked cherries. A sugar pack method is best used for cherries that will be used for pies or other cooked products. Canned cherries can be used as you would fresh; baked goods, pies or added to yogurt. Cherries need to be boiling water bath canned to ensure safety. For more detailed directions on how to use, store and preserve cherries check out the Michigan Fresh cherry publication.

Choosing cherries supports Michigan agriculture and can be easily preserved to enjoy all year-round. Cherries are a delicious way to increase your daily intake of fruits which contributes to a healthier you!

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