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Two of late spring’s fruits are just now appearing.

Both apricots and Bing cherries have been at our farmers’ markets since the first week of May.

Typically, apricots have the shortest season of just about any other fruit. Blink, and they’re gone, or nearly so. This year they are a bit early, which could mean the season will last a tad longer, into mid or even late June.

But don’t wait too long. If you want to make apricot chutney, shrub or preserves, you should do so sooner rather than later. Look for the best apricots at farmers’ markets, farm stands and Imwalle Gardens (685 West 3rd St., Santa Rosa); those that you find in most supermarkets have typically been picked green and never develop the full flavor of fruit that is picked when ripe.

Cherries last a bit longer than apricots. California Bings are the first to appear, but soon Queen Annes, a finer cherry to my palate, will follow and last through July in a good year, which it seems to be. A few other lesser varieties are occasionally available, though briefly. Cherries in Oregon and Washington state ripen later than California cherries, so the ones we’re seeing now are local, at least to some degree.

Apricots do well when they are preserved, but cherries … well, not so much. You have to be careful, or you’ll end up with something that resembles children’s liquid penicillin.

This is especially true when fresh cherries are combined with alcohol; more often than not, the taste is medicinal.

The best thing to do with cherries? Eat ’em neat. Nothing is better, though cherry salsa and cherry relish are quite delicious, too.

For recipes from these delicate fruits from the Seasonal Pantry archives, click here.

Shrubs have their roots in the American frontier and England. Because it is vinegar based, it preserves the fruit, giving it a longer life than the fresh fruit has.

In recent years, shrubs have become extremely popular and, as with most newly trendy things, is rather expensive.

It is very easy to make shrubs at home; all you really need is fresh fruit and vinegar; seasonings and other ingredients are optional.

Apricot Cardamom Shrub

Makes about 1 quart

8 to 10 cups sliced ripe apricots, from about 4 pounds

4 or 5 cardamom pods, crushed open

1 tablespoon white peppercorns, optional

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, optional

4 cups organic apple cider vinegar, plus more as needed

Put the apricots into a large glass jar (2 quarts minimum) or crock, add the cardamom and, if using, the peppercorns and stir, crushing the fruit a bit as you do. Fill the jar or crock with vinegar and let sit in the refrigerator or a cool, dark cupboard for at least 3 days and as long as two weeks. Stir it now and then as it rests.

Line a large strainer or colander with cheesecloth, set it over a deep bowl or crock and pour the mixture into it. Let it drain, stirring it now and then, for 30 to 60 minutes, until no more liquid drains from the fruit.

Pour the shrub into clean glass bottles, add a nonmetal closure — a pour spout is ideal — and refrigerate. Use the solids to make conserve or discard them.

The shrub will keep for many weeks. After a few days, you’ll likely notice more solids in the bottom of the jars. You can decant the shrub into clean jars if you like or simply discard the last bit if it bothers you.

Enjoy over ice with sparkling water, sparkling wine or still white wine.

Gremolata, traditionally made with parsley, lemon zest and minced garlic, is used as a condiment on such dishes as osso buco and grilled or roasted meats and vegetables.

This version is excellent with salmon and spooned over cheese and fresh whole milk yogurt.

Fresh Cherry Gremolata

Makes about 1/2 cup

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon minced spring garlic, white part only (see Note below)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon minced fresh basil, optional

— Kosher salt to taste

— Black pepper in a mill

Put the pitted cherries into a small mixing bowl.

Add the orange zest, garlic, parsley and basil, if using, and toss gently with a fork. Add a pinch of salt, toss again and taste; if the flavors haven’t quite come together, add a pinch more salt, along with several turns of black pepper. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

Note: Use only fresh (not cured) garlic in this recipe; if you don’t have any, simply omit it.

This relish is delicious with cheeses but truly shines when it is served with fresh wild Pacific King salmon. You’ll also enjoy it with smoked salmon and with grilled pork.

Sweet & Savory Cherry Relish

Makes about 2 cups

3/4 pound firm Bing cherries, pitted and cut into quarters

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

3 scallions, trimmed and very thinly sliced

1 tablespoon minced red onion

1 tablespoon fresh mint, very thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, minced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

— Juice of 1 lemon

Put the cherries into a medium bowl, add the feta, scallions, red onion, mint and cilantro and toss gently. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Taste and add just enough of the lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the cherries.

Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

For years, I made a cherry and corn salsa during the brief period, typically in early June, when fresh corn season and fresh cherry season overlap. I rarely make it now, as a key ingredient — Spectrum Natural’s unrefined corn oil — is no longer available. Now I am more likely to make a simple cherry salsa, which I enjoy on whole milk yogurt, whole milk ricotta, chevre, rare duck breast and pork tenderloin.

Cherry Salsa

Makes about 2 cups

1/2 pound ripe cherries, pitted

1 small shallot, minced

1 serrano, minced

— Kosher salt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon best-quality red wine vinegar

— Black pepper in a mill

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, preferably a late harvest oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

8 to 10 spearmint leaves, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Cut the cherries into quarters and put them into a medium bowl. Add the shallot and serrano, season with salt and toss with a fork. Cover and set aside for about 15 minutes.

Add the lime juice, vinegar, several turns of black pepper and the olive oil. Stir, taste and correct for salt and acid. Add the cilantro, spearmint and thyme, toss again, cover and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Oil & Vinegar.” Email her at michele@micheleannajordan.com.

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