Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cooking with Cherries….Oh the Possibilities!

If you’re reading this, you are probably aware of the health benefits of tart cherry juice. However, did you know that incorporating tart cherries into your diet through your favorite foods is another way to reap the delicious and nutritious health benefits of tart cherries? Here are some easy ways to preserve fresh tart cherries, cook with cherries and add cherries to your favorite recipes for an additional antioxidant kick!
Freezing – Enjoy tart cherries all year long by freezing! Pit tart cherries, spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze, then dump them a plastic bag or container to store them.

Soak in alcohol - Marinate tart cherries in liqueur (vodka, bourbon, Amaretto, Maraschino liqueur, whatever), then add cocktails for a delicious kick! 

Make jam – Remember when grandma made fresh jam? Make your own out of tart cherries and enjoy the summer goodness all year long! 

Hot cherry sauce – Drizzle this delicious sauce over pancakes, French toast or waffles for a warm cherry sensation! Put pitted sour cherries in a saucepan with sugar to taste, bring to a boil, and thicken slightly with cornstarch dissolved in a little cold water. Enjoy!

Chilled soups- Create a chilled cherry soup to cool down on a hot summer day. Here is a great recipe:

1 lb., 2 oz sour cherries, stoned
5 oz sugar
Pinch cinnamon
Lemon peel (a couple of grates)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp flour

In 2 1/2 cups water, combine cherries, lemon peel, cinnamon, and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat and simmer, maybe 20 -25 minutes. Mix the flour and sour cream. Stir in to the simmered soup. Return to a gentle boil and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes. Cool to room temp, then refrigerate.

Salsa – Mix in tart cherries with diced tomatoes, onions and other salsa ingredients for a festive, fruity treat!

Smoothies, parfaits – Add tart cherries to your smoothies or yogurt parfaits for a healthy change.
Add to Desserts- pies, crumbles, tarts, ice cream, cookies – need we say more?

Baked goods – muffins, bread, scones – Add dried or fresh cherries to kick up these traditional recipes!

Meat roasts – Throw in tart cherries to veal or turkey roasts for a savory and fruity finish.

Vegetable side dishes – Dice tart cherries and add to green beans, sweet potatoes, or other side dishes for a delicious addition.

Salads – Throw in dried tart cherries for a sweet and sour punch!

How do you like to cook with tart cherries? Share a recipe or some delicious tips!

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