Why You Need To Get Some Spring Cherries Today!
Cherries are natures pearls of beauty. The deep and vibrant shades of reds and purples combined with a succulently sweet yet tart flavor make cherries one of the world’s most favored fruits.
Cherries are a seasonal fruit and their abundance during cherry season makes the perfect time to create delicious desserts and preserves.
In the USA, the cherry season begins around May and ends in August. After this time, many of the cherries you find in the store are imported from other countries and are not as fresh, sweet or delicious as homegrown fruits.
Cherries are loaded with vitamin C and plenty of body boosting antioxidants that help keep your immune system in perfect working order. Getting a healthy hit of fiber, carotenoids, and anthocyanins help clear up the free radicals floating around in the bloodstream and helps aid the digestive tract.
Cherries are the perfect spring and summer fruit and can be used in a whole host of ways from cherry pies, smoothies, ice-cream, and jams.
When selecting cherries for desserts try to find the deepest and richest purple shades for a delightfully sweet and juicy effect. Red cherries are best for using in preserves and jams as the extra tartness the carry helps level out the sweetness of the sugar.
As cherries are abundant from May through to August they are an economical choice and make for the perfect healthy snack for children. Switching out dried preserved fruits for fresh cherries can save up to 38 grams of sugar per hundred grams and almost 280 calories per hundred grams. Not only are they a healthier option, but the levels of vitamins and antioxidants is almost three times higher in fresh cherries than tinned or preserved ones.
Use Those Cherries!
When stocking up on fresh cherries, think of the ways you would like to use them. An excellent summer treat can be made quickly and easily using cherries, Greek yogurt and honey. Simply take an ice cube tray and spoon in a layer of yogurt mixed with honey, place in a pitted cherry into each cube slot and then cover with the remaining yogurt and honey mixture. Place in the freezer and when frozen add to smoothies, on top of strawberries or eat alone.
Depending on the variety of cherry you purchase, the tartness and sweetness levels will vary. The sweeter and richer a cherry is the more antioxidants it will contain making it one of those rare foods that not only tastes amazing but is good for you. Cherries are best known for their use in the famous traditional dessert of the cherry pie which is best served with a dollop of freshly made vanilla ice-cream. If you find a bargain on cherries and can buy them in large amounts, simply freeze the fruits whole in a zip lock bag where they will keep for up to six months. When frozen they also make the ideal ice cube for cooling down drinks such as cola where they impart some of their sweet cherry goodness to the drink.
Unfortunately, cherry season is reasonably short so you should make the most of the glut while you can. As noted, they are an excellent health boosting fruit that delivers a powerful punch of fiber and antioxidants.
Cherries are in effect a superfood, and by buying homegrown fruits you are supporting your local farming economy, and ensuring that you get to indulge in only the finest and ripest of fruits. Use them on cereal, in cakes and dipped in melted chocolate and enjoy the undeniable taste of spring and summer while knowing that what you are putting into your body can only be good for it.
Spicy Cherry Chutney
This tasty concoction comes together quickly and can be used in so many ways. It pairs beautifully with any kind of pork or it can be used as a spread on sandwiches, crostini or crackers. It is also delicious when paired with cream cheese or a sharp cheddar. Another idea is to add some to mini-phyllo cups with a chunk of Brie cheese and then warm the cups in the oven until heated through.
For best results, make this recipe in a wide-bottomed saucepan, as this will have a greater surface area than a narrow one. This allows the liquid to burn off more efficiently, which means your chutney can reach the desired consistency before the fruit breaks down completely.
2 cups fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
2” fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Add all ingredients except the lemon zest to a wide-bottom saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Remove cover, but leave on medium-low heat until the mixture becomes thick and chunky.
If you have a lot of excess liquid at this point, increase heat back to a boil, then simmer again until the right consistency is reached. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Let cool slightly before serving, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a week or so.
Try this delicious breakfast of Oatmeal with Cherries –