If you live in Michigan or have visited during the summer months you know late July is cherry season.
And, this year is no different as of this writing cherries are available across Michigan.
Michigan is the leading producer in the United States of tart cherries, producing 70 to 75 percent annually.
The U.S. Northwest states are the primary producers of sweet cherries, but Michigan still ranks in the top four, producing about 20 percent of the annual crop.
Michigan’s tart cherry orchards extend north from Benton Harbor all the way to Elk Rapids.
Located in the middle is the Grand Traverse Area, which is the heart of cherry country.
Most of Michigan’s sweet cherries come from the Grand Traverse Area. Traverse City, located in Grand Traverse County is nationally known as the “Cherry Capital of the World”.
The Grand Traverse Region produces about 80 percent of Michigan’s annual sweet cherry crop, or about 50 million pounds.
People flock to Michigan this time of the year for RV vacations that coincide with the cherry harvest.
With that in mind here are some tasty RV recipes for those Michigan cherries.
CHERRIES WITH RICOTTA AND TOASTED ALMONDS
• 3/4 cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries
• 2 Tbsp. part-skim ricotta
• 1 Tbsp. toasted slivered almonds
Directions: If frozen, heat cherries in the microwave briefly to soften. Otherwise, top the cherries with ricotta and almonds.
• 2 cups partially frozen cherries
• 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks.
• ½ cup red wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon honey
• ½ teaspoon curry powder
Directions: Combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey and curry powder in a small bowl; mix well. Partially freeze two cups of sweet cherries, then thread them on skewers, Place kabobs on grill over medium coals. Brush with mixture. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, turning and basting with sauce after each turn.
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups flour
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups cherries, pitted, coarsely chopped, and drained
• 1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• Granulated sugar
Directions: Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Sift together dry ingredients and add them to butter/sugar mixture alternately with milk. Stir in almond extract and gently fold in almonds and cherries. Spoon muffin batter into 12 greased muffin cups; cups will be quite full. Sprinkle each muffin with a little granulated sugar, and bake in a pre heated 375 ° F oven for 30 minutes, or until muffins test done.
CHERRY SALSA CHICKEN BAKE
• 1 Jar A Taste of Michigan Cherries…Cherry Salsa
• 4 Skinless Chicken Breasts
• 2 cups Shredded Mexican Cheese
• 2 cups Cooked Rice
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Pour one jar of cherry salsa over the chicken breasts. Top with the Mexican cheese. Bake for one hour covered with foil. Serve over rice.
SAVORY CHERRY BARBECUE PULLED PORK
• Salt and pepper
• 2-3 lb. trimmed boneless Boston pork butt or blade roast
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• One jar of A Taste of Michigan Cherries and Savory Cherry Barbecue Sauce & Glaze
• 6 Sandwich buns
Directions: Rub salt and pepper over a 2-3 lb. trimmed boneless Boston pork butt or blade roast. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a heavy ovenproof cooking pot with a lid. Brown the roast on all sides. Cover pot and roast in a preheated 325 degree oven for 2 1/2-3 hours until the pork can be pulled apart with a fork. Shred the pork, removing excess fat, and toss with one jar of A Taste of Michigan Cherries Savory Cherry Barbecue Sauce & Glaze. Serve warm on a sandwich bun.