Cherries have become one of my favorite night-time snacks, not just because they are sweet but for a great health reason too. They are natural sleep aids! Cherries are found in the grocery store only in the summer months, but can easily be frozen if you want to eat them all year-round.
Three Reasons to Eat Cherries:
- Cherries contain naturally occurring melatonin, which is responsible for the regulation of your body’s internal clock and sleep cycle.
- Cherries contain a phyonutrient called anthocyanin, which is a flavonoid. These phytonutrients give cherries their ruby-red color and tart taste, as well as provide health benefits such as easing pain from arthritis overworked muscles and reducing the risk of heart disease.
- One cup of fresh cherries contains 97 calories.
How to Select & Store Cherries:
- Select: Look for cherries that have firm glossy skin, feel hard and have a bit of a dark shade.Also look for bright green stems – they are a good indicator of cherry health and freshness.
- Store: Fresh ripe cherries can last up to five days in the refrigerator. Store cherries in a plastic bag; if you have a lot of cherries, divide between smaller plastic bags to prevent bruising.
- Prepare: Do not rinse cherries until you are ready to use them.
Different Types of Cherries:
There are many different varieties of cherries, but there are two main categories of cherries: sweet and tart.
- Sweet Cherries: These are great for eating raw and range in color from light yellow to dark ruby-red. The most common varieties of dark sweet cherries are Bing, Tulare, Lambert, Chelan and Lapin. The most common varieties of light colored sweet cherries are Royal Ann, Rainier and Napoleon.
- Tart Cherries: Due to their lower sugar content and high acids, tart cherries are not as popular as raw snacks. They are most often used in desserts, jams and jellies. The two most common varieties of tart cherries are Montgomery and Morello. Tart cherries are also the variety used to make dried cherries.