Most people hear cherry and their mind instantly goes to pie. I hear cherry and my mind goes to one of my favorite old movies — The World of Suzie Wong. In one nightclub scene Suzie, who can’t read, points to the menu and orders a cherry flip and vinaigrette — a really hellish tart combination. We didn’t know it then, but the tartness of the cherry is what makes it such a super fruit.
A super fruit is a fruit that has more than its fair share of nutritional goodness. Many dietitians suggest color coding your diet nowadays since the bright colors in foods usually indicate potent phytonutrients including anthocyanins – plant pigments that have been linked to a variety of health benefits. Cherries fall into the super fruit category because they’re rich in anthocyanins as well as melatonin, which aids with sleep, beta carotene (vitamin A), potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber. See why it’s considered a super fruit?
Cherries, as you have probably figured out, make a good snack just as they are. They keep well for several weeks in a cool dry place. There are three main kinds of cherries: Bing, Lambert, and Rainier. I hear people talking about Bing cherries mostly.
A good cherry will be shiny and smooth like it was wet and have a deep red color. If you rub the skin, it won’t wrinkle up. The fruit itself should be firm to the touch with no breaks in the skin. The cherry will stay firm as long as the stem is still attached.
Many people prefer sweet cherries, but cherries can be sweet or tart. I prefer to buy mine at a farmer’s market. The one thing about visiting the farmer’s market is that your eyes are bigger than your refrigerator and your stomach. The fruit looks so delicious that you want to buy some of everything. So, you may find yourself with a surplus of cherries after you have tried to eat several handfuls in one or two sittings.
Never fear. There are a few things that you can do if you find yourself with surplus cherries. Consider baking the ever popular cherry pie — it’s a perennial favorite. For those die hard cherry lovers you can always put your surplus cherries in a fruitcake — and we all know how long a fruitcake lasts.
For a twist on your favorite salad, cut up a few ripe cherries and throw them on top. Cherries are also appropriate as a nice garnish for non alcoholic drinks like Shirley Temples. Speaking of toppers, cherries can be used in a glaze and drizzled on top of a piece of pound cake or New York cheesecake for that matter. For holiday drinks, float a few cherries in the punch bowl. They also go well in yogurt with a bit of granola thrown in for good measure.
Sweet Cherry and Vegetable Salad
2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 cup radishes, sliced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Fill a medium saucepan with water. Place over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Add the sugar snap peas and blanch 1 minute. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well.
Place the drained sugar snap peas in a large mixing bowl. Add the cherries, cucumbers and radishes and toss to combine. In a separate bowl pour both vinegars together. Add the sesame oil. Stir slightly to combine. Stir in the sesame seeds. Sprinkle in the pepper and stir well. Pour over the top of the vegetables and cherries. Cover tightly and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. Stir to combine the flavors before serving.
Note: The cherries not only add a little sweet to the vegetables but they are a good source of the vitamins needed in a daily diet.
Nutritional Information (Approximate Values):
119 calories, 4 g protein, 2 g fat, 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 2 mg cholesterol and 474 g sodium per serving.
Resource: Meal Planning Made Simple