Spotlight on Cherries

Cherries are a delicious summer treat that contain several essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to keep us healthy. With 97 calories per cup, cherries make the perfect midday snack.

Nutritional Benefits

Vitamin C helps our bodies to build a strong immune system and aids in wound healing. 1 cup of cherries will give you 18% of the daily value for vitamin C.

Besides muscle contraction and nerve function, potassium is an important nutrient for heart health. Potassium is needed to maintain a regular heartbeat, and it helps to keep our blood pressure in check by offsetting or removing higher levels of sodium in the blood. 1 cup of cherries contains 10% of the daily value for this heart healthy nutrient.

Fiber is extremely important for digestive health. This essential nutrient helps us to feel fuller longer by slowing gastric emptying, or the amount of time it takes for food to move through the gut. Fiber promotes bowel integrity and assists with regularity. 1 cup of cherries contains 3g of fiber.

Antioxidants help our bodies to get rid of free radicals, which are harmful substances that cause oxidative stress. They also help to reduce inflammation, which is linked to many chronic diseases.

Cherries are a natural source of melatonin. This hormone helps to regulate your sleep cycle by telling your body when it is time to go to sleep. Melatonin is what makes you sleepy at night and helps you to enter into a deep sleep.

What to Look For

First, check the stems. Cherry stems should be green and unbroken. Avoid any cherries that have brittle, brown stems. Cherries should be firm to the touch without any bruising, wrinkles, brown spots, or discoloration. Ripe Bing cherries will be bright red to maroon or mahogany, while Rainier cherries are yellow in color.

Storage Tips

Cherries are sensitive to changes in temperature. To keep them at their juiciest, get them into the refrigerator as soon as possible. Also, they absorb water, so try to hold off on washing them until right before you eat them or use them for baking. If stored correctly, ripe cherries should last for about a week. If you wish to have them for a longer period of time, freeze them in airtight plastic bags.

Cherry Berry and Greens Salad

Ingredients

2 cups fresh sweet cherries (Bing or Rainier), pitted and halved

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 medium cucumber, cubed (peeled and seeded if desired)

5.5oz Half and Half Spring Mix & Baby Spinach Greens

½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese, if desired

2 Tablespoons mint leaves, thinly sliced

¼ cup honey

Juice & zest from 1 medium lemon

Directions

  1. Wash hands & clean workstation.
  2. Assemble and prepare ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cherries, blueberries, cucumber, salad greens and mint.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  5. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese if using.
  7. Enjoy!

Store leftovers in fridge.

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