The All-American Superfruit
Cherries are a seasonal sweet treat — and good for you, too
Summertime heralds a veritable potpourri of delightful treats: warm sunshine, colorful flowers and — perhaps best of all — cherry season. There are dozens of ways to eat this scrumptious fruit: fresh, dried, in a smoothie, over ice cream, in a fruity drink, in a pie — you name it. Cherries work well in just about any culinary concoction you can dream up.
We all know they’re tasty, but the lesser-known fact and ultimate deal-sweetener is that cherries are also exceptionally healthy. With just 75 calories per cup, they have loads of antioxidants, and are rich in other goodies like vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron and fiber. Studies show they can work other wonders — reducing arthritis pain and lowering risk for heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Cherries contain melatonin, a natural hormone that aids in regulating natural sleep patterns, preventing memory loss and reducing the aging process. They also have been shown to help reduce body fat and cholesterol.
Cherries come in many different varieties. Bing, maraschino and Rainier are sweet, and often are used in drinks or with ice cream. Montmorency and Balaton, the latter of which was actually created at Michigan State University, are tart and best used in pies, preserves and juice.
Yet another reason to embrace this yummy fruit, most cherries consumed in the United States are also grown here. Michigan, Wisconsin, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and New York are the top cherry-producing states.