Its cherry season in the Okanagan, and this year because of the unseasonal cool weather the cherries are big and sweet and very juicy...YUM!
This past weekend I attended a fabulous Farms2Chefs "grazing event". Twenty top chefs in our area teamed up with local farmers and provided an afternoon of delectable eatables that put a smile on every locavores face. And given it is cherry season there were a number of goodies dedicated to this amazing little fruit.
I don't know many people who don't love cherries; eaten by the handful, fresh or dried, in pies, as a drink or a thousand other creative ways, cherries are packed with powerful disease-fighting antioxidants called anthocyanins that provide their distinctive red colour. The red pigments that give cherries their wonderful colour are a type of phytonutrient known as flavonoids, which have been linked to a variety of health benefits. Cherries also contain beta carotene vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fibre and foliate.
Besides tasting good, top researchers indicate that cherries help to ease the pain of arthritis and gout, reduce the risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, prevent memory loss and contain high levels of melatonin, which help us sleep better, and who doesn't love that! Oh yes, and a recent study from the University of Michigan found that a cherry-enriched diet helped to reduce body fat, especially stubborn “belly” fat.
Nutritionists suggest that people consume 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units a day to have an impact on their health. Just one ounce of cherry juice concentrate supplies 3,622 ORAC units, about an entire day's recommendation. http://www.choosecherries.com/health/antioxidants.aspx
Did you know that the top cherry producing nations are Turkey, the United States followed by Iran, but I'm sure if you check your GPS there is a cherry orchard near you. Consider a lovely day in the country and pick your own!
Dr Oz on the benefits of Cherries...