Cherries Botanical Name
History of Cherries
Cherries were brought to America by ship with early settlers in the 1600's. French colonists from Normandy brought pits that they planted along the Saint Lawrence River and on down into the Great Lakes area. Modern day cherry production began in the mid-1800's. Today, the U.S. cherry industry produces more than 650 million pounds of tart and sweet cherries each year.
Research studies also suggest that anti-oxidant compounds in tart cherries help the human body to fight against cancers, aging and neurological diseases, and pre-diabetes condition.
Cherries are one of the very low calorie fruits; however, are rich source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Both sweet as well as tart cherries are packed with numerous health benefiting compounds that are essential for wellness.
Cherries are pigment rich fruits. These pigments, in fact, are polyphonic flavonoid compounds known as anthocyanin glycosides. Anthocyanin's are red, purple or blue pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, especially concentrated in their skin, known to have powerful anti-oxidant properties.
Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in the cherries are found to act like anti-inflammatory agents by blocking the actions of cyclooxygenase -1, and 2 enzymes. Thus, consumption of cherries has potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries.
How to Select and Store Cherries (Prunus Avium)
Look for cherries that have firm and glossy skin. There should be no blemishes on the fruit. They should feel hard and have a darker tinge (the depth of which will be dependent on their variety).
Look for bright green stems. These are a good indicator of cherry health and freshness.
Keep cherries for a very short time at room temperature, for longer refrigerated or frozen.
- Keep at room temperature. These will only be good for up to 2 days. If cherries are to be eaten from a bowl left out at room temperature, be sure to wash and dry all cherries so that people can take them without worrying whether or not they are already washed. Replace every day.
- Place in the refrigerator. Keep cherries in a plastic bag. They will stay fresh for 3–5 days, or even up to two weeks. If you have a lot of cherries, divide between smaller bags to prevent bruising. Do not wash before placing in the fridge (this will encourage deterioration); do so prior to eating instead.
Freeze if wished. Cherries will freeze well:
- Rinse the cherries and remove any grime or debris. Pit if wished.
- Allow to dry completely.
- Cover a baking tray/sheet with baking paper.
- Arrange the cherries on the baking tray and place in the freezer.
- Remove once frozen and transfer to individual storage bags. Squeeze as much air out as possible to avoid freezer burn. Label and date individual bags. Return to freezer. Frozen cherries can be kept for up to a year.
How to Prepare Cherries at Home
Other Uses and Benefits to Cherries
Cherries are referred to as “brain food”, aiding in brain health and in the prevention of memory loss.
Because of their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, cherries are said to reduce pain and joint soreness for runners and athletes after workouts.
5 Facts About Cherries
- Eating cherries reduces the risk of diabetes.
- Because cherries contain anthocyanins, they can reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis and gout.
- Cherries, known as a “super-fruit”, are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins which aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer.
- Cherries are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles.
- Cherries are a good source of fiber which is important for digestive health.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
- 3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
- 15 ladyfingers
- 1 (20 ounce) can light cherry pie filling
- 1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Set aside.
- 2. Heat milk over medium-high heat in a medium, heavy saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat.
- 3. Gradually add hot milk to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan, and cook over medium-low heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- 4. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 25 minutes or until egg mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- 5. Stir in sour cream and vanilla.
- 6. Combine orange juice and amaretto.
- 7. Split the ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Arrange 10 ladyfinger halves, flat sides up, in a single layer in the bottom of a 2-quart soufflé dish.
- 8. Brush 2 tablespoons orange juice mixture over ladyfingers in the dish.
- 9. Spread about 1 cup pie filling evenly over ladyfingers. Spread about 1 cup custard mixture over pie filling.
- 10. Brush 10 ladyfinger halves with 2 tablespoons orange juice mixture, and line dish with ladyfinger halves standing upright.
- 11. Arrange 10 ladyfinger halves over custard mixture, and brush with the remaining orange juice mixture.
- 12. Spread remaining pie filling over ladyfingers. Spread remaining custard mixture over pie filling. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.
Sweet Cherry Ice Cream
- 3 cups dark sweet cherries (frozen and pitted)
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1. Puree the thawed cherries in a food processor. Feel free to leave them slightly chunky; it makes the texture of the ice cream more interesting.
2. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand one minute.
3. Stir gelatin into water over low heat until dissolved.
4. Add cherry puree, half-and-half, milk, sugar and corn syrup to gelatin. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
5. Refrigerate at least four hours, or overnight if possible.
6. Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.