CHERRIES

Juicy and refreshing, tart or sweet, cherries are a delicious harbinger of summer. 

cherriesDepending on the climate and varietal, cherries can come into season anywhere between late April to late August. Cherries are a drupe or stone fruit, which mean they are in the same family as the olive, peach and plum and any other fruit with a pit in the center.

From a culinary perspective, cherries are amazingly versatile and delicious in both savory and sweet dishes. You can even make a liqueur out of the cherry pits, but you have to be careful because cherry pits have cyanide in them. You definitely don’t want to interrupt your dining enjoyment.

You can eat cherries raw, by the handful, or you can add them to any number of foods. My personal favorite happens to be the good old-fashioned cherry pie; simple and not too sweet (if you use tart cherries), all in a deliciously flaky crust. What more could you ask for? When you’re not adding them to desserts, you can also add them to savory dishes. They make a great addition to stews, soups, and salads; especially meat dishes.

sweetcherrypie

From a health perspective, the benefits vary depending on the type of cherry. All cherries offer a pretty great dose of Vitamin C and a variety of antioxidants, but it’s the tart cherries that pack the most punch. Tart cherries are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and even interesting things like carotenoids, and anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the chemical compounds that act as a preventative measure against oxidative stress and the development of different types of cancer. It decreases Uric Acid in the body, so cherries are agrea option for people suffering from gout. It is also the compound responsible for relieving the potential for muscle strain after a workout. Cherries also contain a substantial anti-inflammatory quality, making them a great option if someone is suffering from systemic inflammation and things like gout. Cherries also help balance sleep disturbance, they contain a good amount of natural melatonin. Research also suggests that consuming tart cherries can help decrease your risk for stroke.

All in all, cherries are a great seasonal fruit. I say, get them while they’re ready but then not when they aren’t. In other words, remember the value of seasonal eating.