For the Love of Cherries

Photo, from the Internet: Gilbert W. Arias/Seattle Post-Intelligencer / SL

As far as I’m concerned there are only two seasons in Florida – avocado and cherry.  We are well underway in peak season for cherries this June through July, and it is with great enthusiasm that I welcome the prettiest, most delicate and pampered of cherries, the US-grown Rainier.  Unlike the magnificent dark purple Bing cherry which we are blessed with in abundance during those two months, there will be nothing but stems and pits of the Rainiers’ by the weekend.  At most they are available for barely 7 days in the grocery store and they are priced to sell: a mere $4 per pound ($5 – $6 at season’s start).

The Rainier is a cross between a Bing and a Van cherry– two sweet-red varieties – creating a “creamy-yellow flesh, which gives the blush of the skin a sunny undertone” says Seattle Post-Intelligencer Food Writer Hsio-Ching Chou.  This new variety was developed in 1952. These Rainiers are grown in California, but they are much smaller than the ones grown in the Northwest, especially in Eastern Washington. All Rainiers are picked by their stems and placed, not dropped, into the picker’s basket since they bruise easily.  This is only cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect their taste.

When the very unfairly short cherry season ends, be sure to look for cherries in dried form.  Tart cherries in particular have been linked to several health benefits. They are high in antioxidants which aid in blocking pain and inflammation in the body and may also help in exercise recovery.  Add cherries to your cereal, yogurt, and baked goods. Frozen cherries are an excellent addition to smoothies, as is the tart cherry juice (look for tart cherry juice in health food stores in concentrate form).  Another bonus – cherries are among the fruits with the lowest sugar content, also referred to as ‘low glycemic’, which means they have less impact on blood sugar.  Add berries to this category, along with apples, pears, and kiwi.

For more tips and information on cherries, go to http://choosecherries.com.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Deb G on June 22, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Great source for dried cherries which I use all the time in cookie recipes – NUTS.com is reliable inexpensive has a great variety of all things snacky nutty and for baking!!! BTW I LOVE cherries but I’m really a sucker for the Bings…..:-)

    Reply

    • Thanks for the link, Deb! I’ve bought nuts from that site before but didn’t look at the dried fruit. Cherries in a cookie sounds good to me!

      Reply

  2. Posted by Maria on June 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Are the Rainer cherries best for eating as a snack ? Or do you have a favorite recipe that you could share that uses them. Happy to know they are lowest sugar content in the berry world.

    Reply

    • Hi Maria – I’ve not come across any better way to eat cherries then just right out of hand. I do occasionally bake with them but mostly use frozen cherries in my smoothies, or use the tart cherry juice. Cherries are an easily transportable snack so I take them with me along with some nuts for a tasty, healthy snack.

      Reply

  3. Posted by pam on June 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I like to soak the cherries in Dawn liquid for a few minutes to remove any coating – especially if they’re not organic. I rinse them for several minutes under warm water, drain and dry with paper towels. They’re so delicious and healthy, with no chemical aftertaste.

    Reply

    • Thanks for your tip, Pam! I’ve done something similar with diluted hydrogen peroxide, and a commercial spray called ‘Fit Fruit & Vegetable Spray’ that does a good job. For the more delicate fruits such as berries I jsut make it a point to buy organic since they don’t seem to stand up as well to the spray treatments.

      Reply

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