There are many fruits to enjoy in season during the summer, but CHERRIES are one of my favorites! Cherries are in season all summer long, late May to August and are perfect for an “on the go” snack. They’re packed with antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and small amounts of calcium and iron. Cherries are best known for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Cherries contain the antioxidant, anthocyanin and boast the highest concentration among most fruits. The benefits of consuming cherries include reduced pain from gout and arthritis, as well as many heart health benefits including a reduction in cholesterol, and a decreased risk for atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome. The anti-inflammatory benefits can also reduce post exercise muscle and joint pain, helping athletes reduce muscle damage to recover faster from a tough workout! Cherries are 45 calories for a ½ cup, and include 2 g fiber. Wow, that’s a “super fruit”! Cherries are perfect alone or tossed on oatmeal, Greek yogurt, pancakes or waffles. They make a fabulous salsa or poach well for a delicious topping on chicken or fish. The possibilities are endless. In the summer, I especially love cherry infused water with mint to cool you off and keep you hydrated.
There are many varieties, sweet or sour. Montgomery Cherries are best known as sour cherries. They are mostly found canned or frozen and will contain the highest concentration of anthocyanin. The sweet cherries have a few more varieties, the best known being the Bing Cherry. It’s a large, round, extra-sweet cherry with purple-red flesh and deep red skin. It’s almost black when ripe. Bing Cherries are in season late May until early August. Lambert Cherries are a little smaller with dark-red skin and a rich flavor. They are also available late May until early August. Rainer Cherries are milder and sweeter than the Bing with a sweet, yellow or pink skin.
Make the most of these precious super fruits. Store unwashed cherries in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Remember to wash them well before consuming. You can freeze cherries by rinsing and draining well. Pitt them and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer overnight. Once frozen they can be transferred to a heavy plastic bag and can be kept frozen for up to a year! To poach cherries use one cup of water and two cups of pitted cherries, perfect to top almost any lean meat or fish. To learn more about all things cherries, go to http://www.choosecherries.com/
What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy cherries? Please share in the comments below!