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Food of the Month: Cherries

Cherries make me think of summer and my kids with sticky red faces after they ate a bowl of cherries.  Even though it seemed most of the cherry ended up on their faces I knew what was getting into their bodies was amazing and delicious so this blog is dedicated to that sweet and sometimes messy summer treat!

What are They?

Cherries were first cultivated 2,500 years ago near present day Greece and Turkey. As trade became intercontinental, English and French settlers brought cherries to North America (Superfoods: Eat Your Way to Health and Longevity)  The cherry season begins at the end of April in Southern California and moves north to the upper elevations of Washington state to end around late August.  There are sweet cherries like the Bing and Rainier that are enjoyed fresh or tart varieties like Montmorency that are usually frozen and used in pies or jams.

Health Benefits:

Cherries are rich in flavenoids and anthocyanins that are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.  They are rich in Vitamin C, fiber, potassium and phytonutrients like flavonoids, phenolic acids and carotenoids.

Storage:

When picking cherries you should choose ones that are deep red and firm.  These cherries then should be kept as cold as possible in a plastic bag.  According to experts, 1 hour at room temperature decreases the quality of a cherry more than one day in the refrigerator.  They should never be rinsed prior to storage but cleaned right before consumption.

 

Uses:

  • in pies
  • as an oatmeal topper
  • in smoothies
  • eaten fresh
  • in fruit salads

Try this great summer dessert that is quick and delicious.  It uses frozen cherries so you can enjoy it all year-long, even when cherries aren't in season.

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons natural, nonalkalized cocoa powderChocolate cherry dessert #2

4 pitted dates

1 1/2 cups dark sweet cherries, frozen

1 vanilla bean pod

Instructions:

  1. Blend milk and dates in a high-powered blender until dates are in very small pieces.
  2. Add in the cocoa powder and the inside paste of the vanilla bean, blend.
  3. Add half the cherries and blend until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining cherries and blend until smooth.
  5. Split into two bowls and serve immediately.

Adapted from the "Eat to Live Cookbook"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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