Peanuts... Figs... No, no, it simply has to be cherries - simultaneously sweet and tart, slightly decadent. The cherry pits are actually part of the fun: The inedible obstacles make it impossible to take yourself too seriously when you're indulging in a bowlful.
Perhaps the quality that we appreciate the most about cherries is their versatility, especially during summer's peak which heralds frosty drink weather!
As a beverage garnish or pitted and chopped into smoothies, Italian cream sodas and shakes, cherries possess rich flavors that blend nicely with most drink ingredients, coming forward prominently or fading into the backdrop with equal ease. For a bit of frivolity and a colorful presentation, add a few cherries to any seasonal cold beverage: sparkling water, colas or clear sodas, black or green iced teas, aguas frescas, lemonade/limeade, Asian tapioca teas and even beer.
One cool drink that loves a cherry or two is this Fresh Cherry Lemon Cooler.
Of course, we all know cherries belong on top of a banana split or a hot fudge sundae. But they're also great as the main ingredient. Cherry flavored ice cream is a treat, whether you buy it or make it yourself at home. Or, keep it simple with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as a partner to your slice of cherry pie.
Just make sure you take the pits out when you're cooking or baking with cherries. You can do it by hand or buy a cherry pitter.
Or, you can do like we do: skip the bowl and just enjoy succulent cherries by the handful. Make that "handsful."