In season during our summer, cherries make the perfect vibrant and delicious addition to all your Christmas celebrations.
Interestingly this tiny fruit is not only part of the stone fruit family but is also a member of the rose family. Cherries are packed full with health benefits for your heart, body and mind. With a lower glycemic index than peaches, blueberries, grapes and plums, cherries are also a great choice of fruit snack compared to others.
Cherries are great for your heart health, they are high in potassium which can reduce the risk of hypertension and also helps to regulate both heart rate and blood pressure. Phytosterols in cherries add another benefit with the ability to reduce bad cholesterol.
Anthocyanins give cherries their bright red colour and also have antiinflammatory properties.These natural properties have been shown to help with arthritis and post workout soreness. Anthocyanins also help to reduce brain inflammation and brain oxidative stress which are associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Tart cherries are also a natural source of melatonin which helps sooth your brain neurons and regulates your body’s internal clock. So if you’ve got insomnia, cherries might be the answer to help you to get a good night sleep.
Best ways to enjoy cherries
What to look for: Cherries don’t ripen once they have been harvested so look for plump and glossy skins and a green stem. Steer away from small hard cherries as they will lack flavour.
How to keep them: Cherries should be kept unwashed with stems attached in a paper bag, container or plastic bag in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
How to prepare cherries: There are quite a few ways to pit cherries. You can either purchase a cherry pitter from somewhere such as Robins Kitchen or you can create a DIY cherry pitter. To pit cherries without a bought cherry pitter simply remove the stem and use anything from a straw to a paper clip to remove the seed. This collection of YouTube videos by Huffington Post will help you come up with a creative and simple way of pitting your cherries.
Some ideas for enjoying cherries
-Create a simple cherry and nut crumble, make sure you use almonds as they pair really well with the fruit.
-Make your own cherry jam- package it in little jars and give it as Christmas presents.
-Create a cherry glaze which will be the talk of the table this Christmas.
-Whip up a chocolate and cherry cheesecake- YUM!
-Pair cherries with oranges and other seasonal fruit to make an amazing summer sangria.