By Cynthia Hill, NTP
From the dark black cherry to the delicate yellow Rainier, these heavenly little bite size jewels are unquestionably one of my favorite fruits!
Evidence suggests cherries have been eaten since prehistoric times. Cherry trees were brought to America in the 1600s. In 1912 Japan gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington DC to honor a lasting friendship with the United States. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates this event. A cherry tree in full blossom is a sight to behold!
Michigan produces 75% of the nation’s tart cherries. The average cherry tree produces enough cherries for 28 pies.
The word cherry is popular in catch phrases like “cherry picking”, “cherry on top”, ” “life is like a bowl of cherries”… and in song Neil Diamond sang “Cherry Cherry”.
Aside from their long history , beautiful blossoms and delicious taste, cherries boast a strong nutritional profile worth getting excited about! Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants (especially high in melatonin – think healthy sleep!) Tart cherries are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. They also contain fiber and anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve arthritis and gout pain. The vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins in cherries help fight cancer and heart disease. So many good reasons to include cherries in your diet!
You won’t catch me eating fresh cherries in February, (I try to eat seasonal) but I do eagerly await cherry blossoms in spring, and fresh picked cherries in mid July. I will eat my fill of these juicy little orbs during the summer and freeze some to enjoy in smoothies until the next cherry season!