30 Mar 2008

Cherries a Super Fruit

Cherries, both the sweet (Prunus avium) and sour (Prunus cerasus) varieties, are available fresh, frozen, dried and juiced. They are one of the "Super Fruits" due to their excellent nutrition value and high levels of antioxidents.

Commercially sweet cherries are generally used for eating fresh, frozen or juiced, and sour cherries canned, bottled, dried, juiced and made into jam. Cherries are also used in the liquor industry to be distilled into kirsch, ratafia and maraschino.

Sour cherries are higher in nutrients than sweet cherries but as they are rarely eaten raw they often lose some of that nutrition in processing. The tart flavor of the sour cherries is due to their higher levels of malic acid than sweet cherries.

Cherries contain excellent levels of vitamin C and A (beta carotene), a good level of folate and dietary fiber and small amounts of vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B6. They also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Cherries are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Sweet cherries are only 84 calories and sour cherries 52 calories per cupful so are an ideal snack.

Health wise cherries contain over 17 antioxidants and are therefore disease fighting and also build up the immune system. They contain the flavonoid quercetin which can help to prevent heart disease and they contain anthocyanins which block inflammatory enzymes, reducing pain. Twenty cherries are said to be ten times as potent as aspirin and have positive effects on gout and arthritis pain.

So regularly add cherries to your grocery list and get their antioxidants fighting off all those free radicals in our polluted air.


Raw Black Forest Cherry Brownies
From Raw Sacramento
Visit this site for some fabulous recipes.

4 cups soaked and dehydrated walnuts (Soak 2 ½ cups for 36 hours, rinsing every 12 hours. Dehydrating is optional.)
¾ cup packed pitted dates
¾ cup raw carob powder
2 tsp cherry extract
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or almonds (soaked and dehydrated for best results)
½ cup dried cherries or raisins

Puree 4 cups walnuts in a food processor until it becomes a fine meal. Add dates and continue to puree until well mixed. Add carob and cherry extract and puree again. Mix in the chopped nuts and cherries by hand. Press into a 9" square brownie pan. Refrigerate and slice. Serve with fresh sliced strawberries or raspberries or use frozen berries. Will last for weeks in your refrigerator or freezer.

Confetti Couscous Salad with Dried Cherries
From Cheryl Forberg's Recipes at ChooseCherries

For couscous:
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
1 1/2 cups fat free low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
For dressing:
1 tbsp cherry juice concentrate
1 1/2 tsps lemon juice
1 1/2 tsps Vegan Dijon mustard
2 tvsps canola oil
For salad:
1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries
3 tbsps coarsely chopped pistachios
2 tbsps chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Prepare couscous: In a quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for about 3 minutes or until softened. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add couscous, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool.
Prepare dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together cherry juice concentrate, lemon juice and mustard. Whisk in oil until emulsified. Set aside.
Assemble: Add dressing and remaining ingredients to couscous and mix well. Serve immediately. 8 servings

Cherry Salsa
By Cynthia Bowan at Chef2Chef

1 1/3 cups frozen unsweetened tart cherries
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tnsp chopped fresh or canned jalapeno peppers, or to taste
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1 tsp cornstarch

Coarsely chop frozen tart cherries. Let cherries thaw and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon cherry juice. When cherries are thawed, combine drained cherries, dried cherries, onion, jalapenos, garlic and cilantro in a medium saucepan; mix well. Combine reserved cherry juice and cornstarch in a small bowl; mix until smooth. Stir into cherry mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture is thickened. Let cool. Makes about 1 cup.

Cherry Vanilla Hemp Shake
From Kristen's Raw Food Newsletter
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1/2 cup water
1/4 cup organic shelled hemp seeds
1- 10oz / 283g bag frozen organic cherries (or 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted)
1 tsp raw agave nectar (or 1 pitted date)
1/2 vanilla bean, chopped
pinch Himalayan crystal salt

Blend all of the ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy! Yield 2 cups

Black Cherry-Yam Casserole
From NorthWestCherries

1- 40oz / 1Kg can cut yams, drained
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsps cornstarch
3/4 tsp finely grated orange zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup apricot nectar
1- 16oz / 450g can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained
1 tbsp margarine

Heat oven to 375F/190C. Grease an 11" x 7" (28cm x 18cm) baking pan. Arrange yams in pan. In a saucepan, stir brown sugar, cornstarch, orange zest, salt, cinnamon, and ginger; stir in apricot nectar until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until simmering; simmer 2 minutes then remove from heat. Add pitted dark sweet cherries and margarine. Pour cherry mixture over yams. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes at 375F/190C. Yield:6 servings.



Jeff Iversen said...

I like to buy tart red cherry juice concentrate and add a few ounces to a glass of cold water or mix some into a fruit smoothie. I get the health benefits of the cherry without all the needless sugar.

Anonymous said...

hi ive been dropping my entrecard on your blog and i must say i'm learning a lot here.

keep it up and happy blogging!


Naomi said...

I've always loved cherries Jackie and always associate them with my childhood. They are so good for you. Great recipes. I will definitely try the cherry brownies one. Thanks for sharing that.

aTxVegn said...

I love dried sour cherries and these recipes look great. I think I have a bag of cherries in the freezer...

Saph said...

I love fresh cherries. I always wait for cherry season and buy a bag of them each week to enjoy!

Rural Vegan said...

Those are great recipes! I can't wait for summer to arrive so I can buy fresh cherries again.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Now I'm craving cherries!

Anonymous said...

I used to love raw cherries until one time I ate so many I got sick! Not the smartest thing to do. I do still eat a few once in a while though.

Sheila said...

I'm going to try the couscous dish. Sounds really good. I love sour cherry preserves but must watch the sugar intake.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmm... we have a 'sour cherry' orchard nearby and the cherries make the best jam and the best cobbler in the world!!! Now, I'm drooling thinking of desert :)

Fruity said...

My favorite cherries and great cherry recipes. Just wish it isn't so expensive

Anonymous said...

Yum!!I'll visit here often!

Anonymous said...

Mmm cherries, can't get enough of them in season. Have a large cherry tree in the garden that we'll be using for some of your recipes. Thanks for sharing.

dreamy said...

I love cherries :) actually come to think of it, I think i like almost all kinds of veggies and fruits, but cherries are expensive here I seldom eat them.

Kate said...

wow was unaware of the immense health benefits of cherries. I want not wait for them to be in season!

Jan said...

My grandparents used to have sour cherry trees and my cousins and I would pick a little, eat a little until our teeth "got on edge."

I really miss those. Now all we can buy here are the Bing cherries. Very good, but not the fruit of my youth.

Anonymous said...

Really nice recipes with cherry. it help lose weight.
Thanks jacky.

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Thanks for all of the recipes! All of them sound delicious - can't wait to try them out!

urban vegan said...

Oh, I can't wait for fresh cherries. I love the combination of chocolate and cherry.

bazu said...

Oh, I love this post! It makes me realize that cherry season is only 2 short months away- and then I'll be attacking these recipes, for sure.

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Marion said...

I use dried cherries a lot, when they're not in season. I used to have a sour cherry tree...those were the best for pies!

Health Products For You said...

hi, can we exchange links?

Anonymous said...

Cherries are a wonderful fruit. My mother is allergic to all fruit and my father isn't a fan of berries, but when they discovered the pain relieving/health benefits from cherries they couldn't stop eating them. Mom would feel like she was mildly intoxicated, but she endured.

Waterrose said...

well I think I'll try the brownie recipe...sounds yummy!

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your awesome blog. Been veggie for a few years now, and love cherries. Keep up the blogging.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

oh I agree 100% about certain foods tasting better if they’re homemade-- I absolutely adore homemade hummus… and almond butter *swoons*

Eternidad said...

Thanks for the recipes. I'll try them one day

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Hey Jackie, I just wanted to let you know in my current post for Wordless Wednesday on Cherry Blossoms, I link directly to this post for all the great info you provided on cherries.

Have an awesome day!