September 28, 2012

What a sweet treat! Cherries are one of my favorite fruits. Even those “so-called” cherries that they put on an ice cream sundae. I love them. I have to admit, I can never find much to do with them, but they do pretty well on their own. On top of that, they are incredibly nutritious!

So what’s so good about cherries?

These bright summer fruit should be a part of a healthy diet (unless, of course, you are allergic). Sour cherries contain vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, and copper and manganese. Sweet cherries contain vitamin C and copper. Cherries have antioxidants, including flavonoids, melatonin, and perillyl alcohol, which help to protect us from free radicals (free radicals can lead to cancer). Yes, cherries are another one of our anti-cancer foods. In addition, flavonoids have been linked to having anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, drinking tart cherry juice has been recommended for the management of arthritis pain, particularly gout! Research is showing that cherries may be more effective than pain medication. Now what do you think of that?

What are cherries, and where did they come from?

Cherries, from the rose family, have a pit (seed) in the middle. This is similar to peaches, plums, and apricots, which are from the same family. Cherries were originally cultivated in the Middle East, along the Mediterranean, including Europe, and Asia. Cherries are now cultivated all over the world. There are over 500 types of cherries, and they are either sweet or sour. The two types of sweet cherries that I see at my grocery store are Bing and Ranier. Bing cherries are deep red/purple cherries, and Ranier cherries are yellow and light reddish. I love both of them. Other popular types of cherries include Black Tartarian, Royal Ann, and Napoleon.

How do you select and store cherries?

Choose firm and unblemished cherries. Do not eat cherries that have mold on them, as the mold that grows on cherries is known to be a carcinogen. When you get your cherries home, sort through them. Get rid of any bruised or blemished cherries. Refrigerator your cherries, and wash them just prior to eating them. Cherries do not last long, so eat up.

What can you do with cherries?

Cherries can be eaten raw or cooked. Here are some ideas for using cherries:
1) cherry compote

2) cherry pie

3) cherry sauce (like cranberry sauce)

4) add pitted cherries to a fruit salad

5) use cherries to top a dessert

6) dip cherries in chocolate for a treat

7) add dried cherries to granola

8) make cookies or cake with cherries in them

9) make cherry pancakes, or top pancakes with cherries

10) add pitted cherries to a fruit smoothie

What do you like to do with cherries? Leave a comment below if you liked this article.

~ Cece


Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable on the Market by Aliza Green

Total Nutrition: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need Edited by Victor Herbert, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Genell J. Subak-Sharpe, M.S.

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A., L.M.T.

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