Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sweetheart Cherries

Sweetheart Cherries are fast becoming one of the world's favorite cherries because of their super sweet flavour, crunchiness and long shelf-life. Sweethearts are one of the few "Naturally Red" cherries grown, though many shoppers are turned off by their colour assuming they aren't very sweet. Nothing could be further from the truth!


  • Crunchier
  • Sweeter
  • Smaller Pit
  • Extremely Long Shelf-Life

I love the fact Sweetheart Cherries are heart-shaped too. Makes a great gift for your "Sweetheart". LOL!

Sweetheart Cherries

Lapin Cherries are probably the most eaten cherries in the world today, though many new strains are being planted today that will one day usurp the Lapin as the "King of Cherries". Lapins are very dark in colour almost black and they can look more appetizing than a Sweetheart Cherry. Don't be fooled! The Sweetheart variety is superior in taste and crunchiness.

When you're buying cherries look for a nice sheen to the skin , good quality cherries always have beautiful eye appeal. The stems should be a solid green colour, if the stems are a brown or black colour the fruit is not fresh (bought at a discount may be an option if your pocketbook is a little light). Perform the pressure test... lightly squeeze a cherry between your fingers and it should be very firm. If samples are offered the "taste test" is always best.

Avoid fruit with splits in the flesh (check my 3rd post down) and if you are purchasing Bagged Cherries make sure the bottom of the bag is not full of stems, the bags are relatively dry and the fruit does not smell like wine; all signs of age.

A problem in Supermarkets today is a lack of adequate training of their Produce Clerks. Usually Produce Departments will have on only one Senior Produce Clerk while the other Clerks have little or no training. The produce is mishandled, dropped, dumped, over-stacked, heaped, the damage will often not be noticeable until after you have gotten your purchases home. Avoid messy, unkempt and dirty displays. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Eat lots of Produce and support Local Growers whenever possible!

If you have ever had Welch's grape jelly, drank their purple grape juice or had their fruit snacks; then you've been eating Concord grapes.

Concord grapes are an old-time favorite of my parent's generation and not so readily available today. They are harvested in the U.S. and Canada in late August and early September. I love to grab handfulls and munch on them, they have such a unique and wonderful flavour. Grab a straw and you can spit the seeds at your closest nemesis. JK!

Seeded fruits should be a healthy part of your diet as Mother Nature intended. Eating grape seeds is very good for your body and I personally have never heard of anyone choking to death on a grape seed. Although uncommon... it is more likely for people to choke on whole grapes than their seeds.


There is a variety of blue grape similar to the seeded Concord grape called Coronation and they are seedless. Same fantastic flavor and appearance without the seeds. The seedless Coronation variety will eventually surpass Concord sales as production increases.

When buying Concord or Coronation Grapes they should have a natural whitish powder on their skin (just like blueberries, apples, plums), this is a great indicator of their freshness. After grapes are harvested they lose their "powdery look" as they age and begin to look bland and dull.

Pick up a bunch of grapes and gently shake them, if a large percentage of fruit falls off (called "shatter") the bunch this is a sign of age. Not necessarily bad though if the fruit is still firm. Squeeze a grape between your fingers to ensure they are still firm, not soft and mushy. These two varieties get soft quickly and should be kept refrigerated or in your cold room.

The vine should be light brown or green, not shriveled or black in color. Occasionally you may see a moldy, brown, raisiny, wrinkled or greenish grape on a bunch, this is NORMAL and doe not mean the bunch is bad

If the grape bunches are sticky, this usually means the fruit is old or overripe and should be avoided unless you are making jam or wine. The "taste test" is alway best, pop one in your mouth and savor their wonderful flavour. You will not die from eating an unwashed grape!