Care of Amy Symington
Good old July – ‘tis the season for cherry picking by the barrel, so get them while they’re ripe! From the chokecherry to the black cherry to the sour cherry to the wild and crazy cherry, cherries are often overlooked in terms of their versatility and amazing nutritional value. It ain’t just about the sweet cherry pie!
Nutritionally speaking cherries are bursting with antioxidants (particularly the red berry fan favourite anthocyanin), they are rich in fibre, and vitamins – all of which aid in preventing very scary ailments such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. If we’re talking vitamin and mineral content, cherries are blasted full of folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Its vitamin A (or beta carotene) content is out of this world high, almost 20 times more than its comrade the blueberry, which is great for maintaining excellent eyesight. The sour cherry is particularly potent with vitamin C and the more face puckering the cherry, the higher the vitamin C content.
Although they are exploding with goodness, remember not to over cook your cherries as vitamins and minerals are lost (particularly vitamin C) the more you heat them. Culinary wise, their uses are as endless as a bottomless pit. From jams to chutneys to coulis, to classic cherry cheesecake, refreshing cherry juice, dried cherry granola, dark chocolate covered cherries and merry cherry muffins, their flexibility is infinite, so enjoy them with everything and anything sweet, sour or savoury. Be adventurous! Cerise, cereza or just plain old cherry, no matter how you say it, they all refer to a deliciously healthy treat, so help yourself (while the picking’s still good) to a big bowl full of cherries and feel jolly about it.