Spring is cherry season! Check out the health benefits of cherries along with how to pit cherries and some recipes to take advantage of this spring’s cherry bounty.
How to Pit Cherries
If you’re planning to cook with your sweet cherries, you may need to remove the pits. This can be a total pain, but I found a cool trick that makes it easier. You don’t need a cherry pitter to pit cherries quickly and easily. All that you need are a bottle with a narrow mouth and a chopstick or kitchen skewer. Here’s what you do:
- Remove the cherry’s stem and place it on top of the bottle.
- Use the chopstick to push the pit out of the cherry.
That’s it! You can even do this without the bottle, but it’s messier. You can see this technique in action in the video above.
Health Benefits of Sweet Cherries
Sweet cherries are related to the wild cherry, and they’re packed with nutritional value. They contain a special sort of antioxidant – anthocyanin glycosides – that’s a powerful anti-inflammatory. There is research linking sweet cherry consumption with a reduction in alzheimer’s disease and showing that they may help protect your body from cancer.
Another small study showed that cherries may help manage blood cholesterol.
Like many other fruits, cherries are a good source of fiber and vitamins. Some of the research above needs further study, but what you don’t need is a study to show is that cherries are delicious. That means the worst case scenario is that you get a delicious, whole food, healthy snack.
7 Sweet Cherry Recipes
Of course you can eat your sweet cherries by the handful, but sometimes it’s fun to mix things up! Here are some fun recipes to help you incorporate healthy cherries into your snacks and meals. Some of the recipes below call for tart cherries, but sweet cherries will work just as well.
1. Sweet and Spicy Trail Mix - Nuts, a little candied ginger, and dried cherries make a yummy on-the-go treat. This recipe includes a free printable card, in case you want to give a batch of trail mix as a gift.
2. Toasted Quinoa Salad with Cherries – Cherries add a nice sweetness and depth to this grain-based salad.
3. Wild Rice Salad with Cherries and Pecans – Another grain salad starring cherries. This makes a tasty side dish or light main meal.
4. Raw Cherry-Chocolate Cookies – These raw cookies are a healthier treat, and the cherries in this recipe really shine.
5. Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal – A little breakfast decadence, perhaps?
6. Grilled Cherries – This sweet and spicy side dish features an unexpected ingredient: curry powder!
7. Cherry Salsa - Don’t you love a fruit salsa? This version is simple and delicious.
Do you have a favorite recipe for sweet cherries? Tell us about it in the comments!