THE FOOD SERIES: Cherries

CHERRY SEASON IS GETTING CLOSE! I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT!

DESCRIPTION:

Cherries come in two types, the sweet cherry and the sour (or tart) cherry. Most of us are more familiar with the sweet wild cherries. These are most commonly eaten fresh and raw when they are in season. These sweet cherries are heart-shaped and have a firm flesh. They range in various colours such as golden, red, to dark red, purple and even black. In the Northern Hemisphere, sweet cherries are available between May through August.

Sour cherries on the other hand are available in June. Sour cherries may be too tart to eat fresh and raw. As a result, sour cherries are normally used in dishes and recipes that includes lots of sugar such as pies or preserves. They are also used to make tart cherry juice, are dried, frozen, or blended with other fruits to make other juices.

PRODUCTION:

Sweet cherries are found throughout most of Europe, western Asia and parts of northern Africa. It has been consumed throughout these areas since the prehistoric times. Turkey, United States, and Iran are the top sweet cherry producing countries. While Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey are the top sour cherry  producing countries.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE:

One cup of sweet cherries:

86.9 kcal
22.1 g carbs
2.9 g fiber
0.3 g fat
1.5 g protein
9.7 mg Vitamin C
306.4 mg potassium
0.1 mg copper

One cup of sour cherries:

77.5 kcal
18.9 g carbs
2.5 g fiber
0.5 g fat
1.6 g protein
1988.7 IU Vitamin A
15.5 mg Vitamin C
0.2 mg manganese
268.2 mg potassium
0.2 mg copper
14.0 mg magnesium

As you can see, sour cherries have slightly higher amounts of many nutrients such as  Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, manganese. Tart cherries are also known for its cardiovascular benefits. This is because of the anthocyanin which is the pigment, giving the cherries its bright red colour. These pigments help regulate genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism. As a result, it helps reduce the risk of high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.

Cherries in general, are high in antioxidants, which as we all know by now help tackle the toxins and free radicals that we expose ourselves to on a daily basis, and thus help reduce the risk of various illnesses such as cancer and other inflammatory-related diseases.

Cherries have also been found to promote better sleep, due to being a good source of melatonin which is crucial in regulating our sleep cycles.

Tart cherry juice have become popular especially within the health and fitness world. This is because it has been found that it helps reduce muscle inflammation and soreness.

WAYS TO ENJOY

I LOVE and I really do mean LOVE cherries. It’s definitely one of my favourite fruits EVER! And I have a lot of favourites. I could just eat a monomeal of cherries every single day if I could. I hope I can go to cherry picking this year! That is something I have yet to do!

Raw cherry cheezecake

And then drizzled with chocolate…. yup officially drooling. Here is an amazing recipe by the beautiful FullyRaw Kristina. It’s completely raw, vegan, and healthy! To make a chocolate drizzle, you can simply mix coconut oil, cacao powder, and any type of sugar you want, whether that is coconut nectar or maple syrup.

Cherry Nice Cream

Simply blend frozen bananas with either frozen or fresh sweet cherries. Yummmmmmmm! If you would like it more chunky, blend the bananas first and then pulse in the cherries.

Cherry Smoothie

Cherries, banana, dates, plant-based milk, maybe a few dashes of cinnamon… and a tablespoon of cacao powder to make it even more delicious and chocolatey.  If you are looking for a post-workout smoothie, add in tart cherry juice as your liquid base. As mentioned earlier it may help with recovery and muscle soreness!

FUN FACTS

  • Cherries belong to the rose family.
  • There are more than 1000 different varieties.
  • A typical cherry tree produces 7000 cherries!
  • The world record for cherry-pit spitting is 93 feet!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES / REFERENCES 

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