Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cheery Cherry Frozen Yogurt

My teenage daughter Valerie is a great cook, and we count ourselves lucky when she gets in the mood to whip up something delicious in the kitchen. For a couple of years now she has enjoyed making a variety of frozen yogurt flavors using our Cuisinart ice cream maker. She's tried vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, orange, and mixed berry flavors. Now that it's cherry season, it's time to make some cherry frozen yogurt with sweet, tart cherries from C.J. Olson's.  

C.J. Olson's has been growing cherries in Sunnyvale, California for 110 years. Now in its fourth generation of family growers, C.J. Olson's sells at a farm stand as well as through a website and at local airports. Besides a variety of fresh cherries, C.J. Olson's sells dried cherries, cherry juice, jams, chocolate covered cherries, other dried fruits, and more. 

For this batch, we used Straus low-fat plain yogurt with C.J. Olson's fresh Rainier cherries grown in Sunnyvale. I love the sweet, delicate flavor of these red-yellow cherries with their crunchy, juicy texture, a mix between Bing and Van varieties.  We topped the frozen yogurt with some of C.J. Olson's dark chocolate covered dried Bing cherries to create a new confection reminiscent of Ben and Jerry's Cherries Garcia frozen yogurt. This fresh, frozen concoction turned out delightfully creamy and flavorful, a just-right dessert that takes advantage of locally grown fruit in season. 

Cheery Cherry Frozen Yogurt

3 cups coarsely chopped, pitted fresh cherries or pitted frozen cherries (we used C.J. Olson's fresh Rainier cherries)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt (we like Straus brand)

1.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
2.  Freeze in an ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions.
3.  Serve or transfer to a freezer container and freeze.

Makes about 6 cups. Top with chocolate covered dried cherries or chocolate chips.

One great feature of the cherry is its bi-annual seasonality: cherries ripen both in late November through February, and again in May through August. At other times of the year, you can still enjoy them dried or chocolate covered. For more cherry recipes including Bing Cherry Cake and Classic Cherry Pie, check out C.J. Olson's website. Cheerio!

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