Sweet and sour, cherry season is in full swing

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Murray Family Farm in Bakersfield grows 60 varieties of cherries that they bring to market each spring. Photo by Gillian Ferguson/KCRW

Clemence de Lutz of The Gourmandise School of Cooking says the best way to eat cherries is immediately outside when the fruit is in season. Extending that enjoyment requires preserving cherries, a three-day process that involves overnight brining, then boiling up a simple syrup and packing the drained and rinsed fruit in jars. Sour cherries, which have a higher water content and are smaller, need to be refrigerated right away. 

Two parts cherries to one part sugar is de Lutz's preferred ratio, with about an ounce of lemon juice for every pound of fruit. Sour cherries are best for preserving, while sweet cherries are perfect for snacking. She shares the cherry clafoutis recipe that she has been making with her grandmother since she was a girl.

Steven Murray Jr. grows 60 varieties of cherries on his family's farm, which is known for bringing the first of the fruit to market each year. Murray says this season’s heavy rains delayed the harvest by about three weeks. Brooks cherries are his typical harvest, but he explains that variety cracks in the rain, so he is growing newer varieties using a KGB growing system that prevents water from collecting on the fruit.