With spring time comes the beautiful cherry blossoms. We are lucky to live close enough to DC that we can enjoy the cherry blossoms when they are in full bloom. In fact my husband proposed to me after running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. Unfortunately that year the cherry blossoms were blooming later then expected so not many had oped up yet. OK, back to the topic at hand. After the cherry blossoms are gone, we of course get to enjoy delicious, juicy and healthy cherries.
Cherries are a superfood. They are rich in an antioxidant known as anthocyanins. This antioxidant may help lower triglycerides and cholesterol as well as reduce inflammation. Having problems sleeping at night? Tart cherries naturally contain melatonin. Studies have shown that people who enjoy tart cherries every day actually sleep better. Delicious and great for you, what more do you need?
Before you make anything with a cherry make sure you are getting the right kind. A lot of baking recipes and jams use the sour (or tart) cherry. If you are going to eat cherries fresh you probably want the sweet cherry. Bing cherries are the most common variety of sweet cherries sold in the United States. The fresh or even frozen cherries can bring a new flavor profile to dishes that you may have been making for a while. For example, make a cherry BBQ sauce. These little red gems aren't just for pies and jams. When you start to see them in the grocery store this spring, try incorporating them into your lunches and dinners. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Put dried or fresh cherries on your salads. Try this healthy and delicious combo:
Kale and baby spinach with fresh cherries, feta cheese, red onion, pistachios and balsamic vinegar
2. Serve them as an appetizer. This cherry compote over goat cheese look yummy. Serve with a healthy grain or seed based cracker.
3. Enjoy them for breakfast. Here is a recipe for a cherry vanilla muffin or put them in a coffee cake.
4. Drink them in a cocktail. There are so many choices our there. This sour cherry gin sling looks good!
5. Turn them into a sauce for your favorite protein. I personally like pork with cherries so here is a recipe for grilled pork chops with cherry sauce.
6. Of course there is also dessert. There are almost too many cherry desserts out there for me to choose from. I have decided to go with the classic combo of cherry and almond in a dessert bar.
Want the freshest cherries possible? Grow your own cherry trees. It won't get more fresh or delicious than that!