In the depths of February, when the temperatures start to hover around zero and the snow on the ground refuses to melt, it can sometimes feel like the warmer months will never return. But one way to banish the bad weather blues is to incorporate some fruity, summery flavors back into your diet, and we can’t think of a better candidate than the cherry.
Not only does the taste of cherry immediately transport us back to the memory of blue skies and sun, but the fruit stands up really well to being dehydrated, so you don’t have to wait around until they’re in season to enjoy them. Of course, there are probably places you can find fresh cherries this time of year, but if not, many of these recipes can substitute either dried or fresh fruits, and provide an ideal way to brighten up your palate when the skies are gray.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so set the tone for yours with a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with nuts and cherries. The warm oatmeal will stick to your ribs, the protein in the nuts will keep you full, and the cherries will remind you that there’s light at the end of this tunnel we call winter.
If you’re craving something a little sweeter in the morning, these adorable little corn cakes are a fun take on pancakes. The cherries bring out the inherent sweetness in the corn, which is balanced out by the tartness of the buttermilk in the batter and the sour cream on top. Perfect harmony.
This dish’s dried cherries—sour cherries, to be exact—pair wonderfully with the nuttiness of the farro, as well as the orange zest, scallion, and pistachios.
4. Winter Cherry Salad with Crispy Pancetta
(Image: The Fresh Market)
Looking for the ideal dish to bring to a winter potluck? Well, we found it. Every flavor and texture is covered here, from crispy pancetta to creamy cheese to tart cherries. They’re all served over mixed greens with a roasted shallot and black sage honey vinaigrette that epitomizes luxury.
5. Skillet Corncake with Stewed Cherries
(Image: Martha Stewart)
With its big, bold flavors from the corn cake soaking up the stewed cherries, this beautiful dish isn’t entirely sweet, but it’s not entirely savory either, making it a perfect choice to serve at a winter brunch. Your guests will be impressed as well as satisfied.
6. Sweet and Savory Sage Stew with Pumpkin and Cherries
(Image: Life As A Plate)
Since cherries are one of those fruits just crying out to go savory, it can show up in your entrees as well, like this beef stew. The deep fall flavors of sage and butternut squash provide a delightful base of flavor to showcase the cherries without fighting them.
We already know cherry and duck go together swimmingly, and since the same thing goes for pork and apple, let’s assume we can pull a swap on the two sets of ingredients without any trouble. What you end up with in this case is a perfectly grilled pork chop with a bright, herbaceous cherry salsa. Or if you’re looking for something a little more summery, you can also try our recipe for Pork Tonkatsu with Yuzu Cherry Salsa and Mizuna.
8. Sour Cherry Pie
(Image: Honest Cooking)
And finally, for the cherry dish we all miss the most in the winter: cherry pie. This recipe is very traditional, except for the fact that it uses jarred cherries, so you don’t have to wait until July to enjoy a mouthwatering summer treat.
Hopefully these recipes will invigorate your palate with enough hints of summer to get you through the last (painfully cold) gasps of winter!