Your Guide to Northwest CherriesPosted on June 26th, 2019
Cherries are a tasty food packed full of beneficial nutrients. Cherries come in two varieties: tart or sweet. Tart cherries are typically used for baking and sweet for various other purposes like snacking. Both types of Northwest cherries are a nutrient dense and low-calorie food. One serving of 21 cherries contains less than 100 calories.
- Nutrient dense food containing potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber
- Cholesterol and fat-free food
- May decrease the risk of certain cancers
- May help control blood sugars
- Contain melatonin which may help promote healthy sleep patterns
When are cherries in season?
Sweet cherries are in season and in stores from around May through August. When cherries are not in season, frozen cherries are another great alternative.
How to pick out fresh cherries?
Look for plump cherries free from bruises and fresh green stems. There are many types of cherries. Typically, the deeper the color the more intense the flavor.
How to store cherries?
Keep cherries stored in the refrigerator, unwashed and stems attached in a loosely covered container or paper bag until you are ready to use them. Remember to rinse cherries with clean cold water before eating them. If you are not going to use within a few days, consider pitting and freezing them for a future date.
How to use cherries?
Cherries are a versatile food you can incorporate in breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or anytime throughout the day as a snack. There are several ways you can incorporate cherries into your day.
- 2 Quarts romaine lettuce
- 2 Cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries
- 2 Cups sliced (2-1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 inch) cooked chicken breast
- Easy Parmesan Croutons (recipe below)
- Lime dressing (recipe below)
- 2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Toss lettuce, cherries, chicken and croutons in a large salad bowl. Just before serving, pour Lime Dressing over salad, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss lightly.
Easy Parmesan Croutons: Cut 3 slices day-old bread into ½-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese. Heat in a nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 or until golden brown; stir frequently. Makes 1-1/2 cups.
Lime Dressing: Combine 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 small clove crushed garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon grated lime peel and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground coarse black pepper. Beat in 1/3 cup olive oil until blended. Remove garlic clove before pouring over salad. Makes about ½ cup.
Overall, cherries provide numerous positive benefits for your health. Choosing to consume cherries in the summer months while they are fresh is a great option. There are a variety of ways you can include them in your daily meals or snacks.
About the Author: Rachel Sheppard is a dietetic intern at Oklahoma State University. She enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and traveling.
Disclaimer: Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy diet. Reasor’s Registered Dietitian‘s opinions and recommendations are of their own; they are not paid to endorse any products.
- Nutrients. A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Article from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872786/.
- Northwest Cherry Growers. Website https://www.nwcherries.com/health-nutrition/7-reasons-eat-cherries
- The Spruce Eats. Website https://www.thespruceeats.com/cherry-season-recipes-4126816