One of my favorite things about summer is all the delicious fruit that is in season! Walking into the grocery store & seeing all the bright colors & of course, tasting the sweetness of the fruit! I like chocolate (ok, love chocolate), but don’t eat many other candies. I think of fruit as nature’s candy! Plus, it is so beautiful! One of my favorite treats are fresh cherries! I snack on them and try to substitute them for other desserts or chocolate. I eat them fresh or freeze them. I take them to work pre-washed, so they are handy mid-afternoon when I get the urge for a snack (even though at work, cherries can be a bit messy to eat due to the pit, as long as you are at your desk – or the lunch room – and have a place to dispose of the pits you should be fine though, haha).
As you know, I try to be practical. I find fresh cherries to be very practical fruits to eat. All they need is to be washed. You can eat them with your hands and remove the pit as you are eating them, they are also an easy snack to take with you on the go. I try not to eat too much ice-cream because of the high calorie and fat content, so I freeze cherries and enjoy them as a substitute for ice-cream and other frozen desserts, such as frozen popsicles. Unless you make your own gelato, ice-cream, or popsicles, it is hard to control the sugar content and calories. Plus, I am a fan of fresh food vs. processed foods. Don’t take me wrong, I love ice-cream and do eat some, usually a few spoonfuls from ice-cream my husband will order as dessert when we are out for dinner. Freezing cherries is easy. Simply wash them, dry them on a paper towel, and put them is a freezer-safe container or a freezer plastic bag (Ziploc). I prefer the Ziploc option, it makes it easy to separate the cherries when I want to eat them and only take the portion I want. You can also pit them, but I just freeze them with the pit (just be careful when you eat them to not swallow the pit or chip a tooth if you bite a pit). Frozen cherries keep well for a few weeks. I have also purchased frozen cherries, but find them to taste less fresh & a bit mushy. So, I prefer to freeze them myself. You can also add them to smoothies, cereal, salads, meals, and cocktails. Cherries make a great low calorie dessert!
I know cherries can seem to be a bit pricey compared to other fruits, but I always figure it is better to pay more for fresh fruit than to spend money on processed food that may not be healthy for me (i.e.: junk food). I try not to eat too much dry fruit either, because it usually has some type of preservative and added sugar. I’ll do a separate post on dry fruit another day.
I looked up the health benefits of eating cherries (1 cup; from caloriecount.com): calories 74, vitamin A 1%, vitamin C 14%, calcium 2%, iron 2%, dietary fiber 2.5g, carbohydrates 18.7g, fat 0.2g, sugars 15 g, protein 1.2g.
According to nationalcherries.com, they are high on antioxidants, can help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as promote healthy skin and brain cells. They have anti-inflammatory properties (have been used as a medical aid since the 1950’s and to treat gout because they reduce the uric acid in the blood). They are also known to be a pain killer, athletes consume them for muscle pain. Sour cherries have melatonin, which can help regulate your sleep patters. Ever wonder about swallowing a cherry pit? Avoid eating the pits because they contain prussic acid which is found in cyanide (a very low amount but it is better to be safe).
The good = lots of nutrients, antioxidants, low calories, & of course, delicious, plus I think they are fun to eat! The not so good = some say they are high on sugar, but for me, natural sugar is ok in moderation (I am not going to eat a gallon of cherries in one sitting). I think natural sugar found in fruits is much better for you than the sugar in processed candy and food, and dare I say it, chocolate.
So, go out and get some fresh cherries! Eat them fresh, chilled, or frozen and start enjoying the nutritional benefits of this tasty fruit!
What is your favorite fruit? Have you had frozen cherries before?