The anticipation of their summer arrival and the short lived season of this fruit makes them extra special. According to the California Cherry Advisory Board May 16-June 20th are the “Sweetest Six Weeks of Summer”. It goes really fast so let’s take advantage of them. They taste good, look good (how darn cute is a cherry on top of anything? Um, hello, cupcake with a cherry on top!) and they are good for you. Cherries help to prevent heart disease and cancer and provide pain relief. Apparently 20 cherries are 10 times as potent as aspirin!! To really enjoy them in their natural flavor try something simple and refreshing and EASY like a (Cherry Granita?, Cherry Sorbet?). I know, I know…you needed an excuse to buy yet another cool kitchen gadget: It’s ok, I give you permission to buy the Cherry Pitter. Wanna go cherry picking? Check it out:

Cherry Sorbet

8 cups pitted cherries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vodka

Puree Cherries in a food processor and force through a seive or pass through the fine disk of a food mill to remove then skins. Heat the sugar and the water until sugar dissolves and stir the it into the cherry puree. Stir in the lemon juice and vodka and taste to adjust the flavors. Add more lemon juice or vodka if you would like. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

Cherry Granita

2 pounds pitted cherries
1 teaspoon vodka
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water

Process or blend the cherries and force them through a fine seive, set over a medium bowl. Press cherries to extract all of the juice. Pass it through again if any solids remain in the juice. Add the orange juice and vodka. In a sauce pan, combine the sugar with the water and cook over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool. Add the cooled syrup to the juice mixture and stir to combine. Pour in to a shallow pan or baking dish. Place in the freezer until ice crystals form around the edges, about 1 hour. Using fork, stir the crystals into the center and return to the freezer. Stir the crystals with the fork once and hour until all the liquid has frozen and has a grainy consistency, about 5 hours. Serve or store covered in the freezer up to two days.