The Important Reason You Need To Keep The Stems On Fresh Cherries

The tart bite of cherries, perfectly in season, can be an enjoyable snack. You may want to cook them down to turn into a cherry sauce or use them as the topping to sundaes. They even work fabulously as a simple, healthier snack during a movie. The key to a good cherry is ensuring they are at their freshest.

When picking fresh cherries at your grocer, consider the color first. There's some versatility in coloring based on various varieties available, but cherries with the darkest, deepest red color tend to have the most flavor, according to Stemilt. The more vibrant and glossy they are, the better. Texture of the cherry can also be an important indicator of ripeness. Firm, plump cherries indicate they are fresh and ready to enjoy. If the cherries are smaller in size or soft when you squeeze them, that could mean they were not stored properly, or the fruit is getting older. While these tips are critical to buying quality products, it's the stem that you need to pay close attention to if you want truly fresh cherries.

What to look for on the stems of fresh cherries

When purchasing cherries, look for those that have stems on them. As noted by The Produce Nerd, the stems help hold onto the freshness longer, with green stems indicating they are typically younger fruits. Stems will brown over time as they age. If the stems are shriveled, that's not necessarily an indication that you shouldn't use the cherries, but just that they are older than others.

Once you bring the cherries home, don't pull off those stems just yet. When the stems come off, there's then a gap in the fruit where pathogens can get into it, one of the main factors contributing to the fruit's breakdown and decay. Keeping the stems in place keeps the fruit fresher for longer. MasterClass also recommends storing cherries unwashed until you're ready to use them and placing them in a clean bowl in a dark space or in the refrigerator to prevent them from overripening.