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Pop a Cherry (or Two!) for a Health Boost

Cherries

Cherries are a delightful summer treat, but their benefits go far beyond their juicy sweetness. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, these little gems can be a delicious way to boost your health.

Why Cherries Deserve a Spot on Your Plate

  • Antioxidant Powerhouse: Tart cherries, in particular, are loaded with antioxidants that fight cell damage and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Rich: Cherries are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, and fiber.

Cherry Season: When to Find the Freshest Fruit

Cherry season varies depending on your location. In the US, cherries are typically harvested from late April to August, with peak season during the summer months. This is the best time to find the freshest, juiciest cherries.

Cherries
Cherry
Cherries

A Cherry for Every Taste: Different Types and How to Use Them

There’s more to cherries than just red! Here are a few common varieties and how to enjoy them:

  • Bing Cherries: The classic sweet cherry, perfect for snacking or adding to salads. Look for deep red color for the sweetest flavor.
  • Rainer Cherries: A sweeter alternative to Bing cherries, with a hint of tartness. Enjoy them fresh or in baking.
  • Royal Anne Cherries: Light yellow with a delightful tart flavor, these are the cherries used for Maraschino cherries.
  • Montmorency Cherries: Tart and perfect for adding a zip to trail mix, yogurt parfaits, or pastries.
  • Morello Cherries: Exceptionally tart, these are the go-to cherries for baking delicious cherry pies.
Cherries
Cherries

Beyond the Basics: How to Enjoy Cherries

Sure, cherries are fantastic on their own, but there are endless ways to incorporate them into your diet:

  • Breakfast Boost: Add chopped cherries to oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies for a burst of flavor and sweetness.
  • Salad Sensation: Toss halved cherries into your favorite salad for a sweet and refreshing touch.
  • Baking Bonanza: Bake delicious cherry pies, crisps, cobblers, or muffins.
  • Sweet and Savory: Make a tangy cherry sauce to compliment pork dishes or add a twist to marinades.
  • Frozen Fun: Freeze pitted cherries for a healthy and refreshing summer snack.

Making the Most of Cherries

Remember, fresh is best! When choosing cherries, look for firm, plump fruit with bright, shiny skin. Avoid cherries with blemishes or soft spots. Store them unwashed in the refrigerator for up to a week.

By incorporating cherries into your diet, you’re not just indulging in a tasty treat, you’re giving your body a dose of essential nutrients and antioxidants. So next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t forget to grab a bag of these delightful summer jewels!

Recipe Ideas

Source

Originally published July 31, 2020. Revised and updated.

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