From June to September, it is cherry season in the UK. The season is short, though, blink, and you’ll miss them! So now is the time to get cherry picking! And there is something so lovely about enjoying food that is in season. It can make them cheaper to buy, as they don’t have to be shipped in from abroad, plus, as they are in season, the natural season for cherries, the taste is just so much better.
They don’t just have an amazing taste, though, the shiny, red and perfectly formed fruit are low in fat for starters. So they can be a naturally sweet pick-me-up in the afternoons, or something for the kids to enjoy as a quick snack, with out worrying about the amount of fat in the food. Cherries also have a low glycaemic index, or GI as it is known, which is great for blood sugar levels. Eating foods that have a low GI, leads to a more steady rise in the level of sugar (or glucose) in the blood, which means less insulin released into your body. So they are a winning combo for diabetics, or if like me, you have PCOS and need to watch your blood sugar and keep the level steady. Foods with a high GI eave you feeling lethargic, hungry and craving more sugar. So cherries can be a great food for weight maintenance or dieting too.
I think you can pretty much class cherries as a superfood as the tiny fruit has so much soluble fibre that can help lower cholesterol. Truly. Plus, research has shown, that the people who eat more potassium-containing foods, things like cherries and bananas, are less likely to have high blood pressure. They taste good too, what is not to love?
Well, one more thing – ha! Cherries also contain melatonin, which is one of the hormones found naturally in the body that helps to regulate sleep. In a study drinking cherry juice was associated with better sleep. So there are so many benefits to cherries, perfect for all of the family.
We have been loving just having cherries out in the garden, or taken them out on trips to the park. They are quick and easy and using a cherry pitter is actually quite fun too! There are so many ways to use cherries, though, in sweet things, to decorate cakes, as well as making jams and jellies. Here is an ice lolly recipe that I like to use fresh cherries in – works as a treat, but even full of enough goodness for a cheeky breakfast.
Cherry and Yogurt Ice Lollies
- 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
- Juice of one lemon
- up to ten more fresh cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 cups yogurt (I like CoYo the best)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
What to do:
- Place the 2 cups of pitted cherries into a blender of food processor to make a puree. From there, push it through a metal strainer, catching it in a bowl, to make sure that the lollies are nice and smooth. Chuck what remains in the strainer on the compost 🙂
- Add the lemon juice to the cherry puree and stir.
- Stir together the yogurt and ample syrup in a separate bowl. Add half the yogurt mixture to the cherry mixture and make sure that it is well mixed. It should be a lush dark pink colour.
- Use ice lolly moulds, pour a small amount of the cherry mixture in. Then place some of the remaining yoghurt mixture in the moulds. Finally, top up the moulds with the remaining cherry mix.
- You can push one or two cherry halves into the mould. Cover and add the stick. Place in the freezer until firm (usually best to wait overnight).
- Remove from the moulds when ready to eat and enjoy in this lovely summer sun!
Cherry Chef’s Tips
- I have been using a cherry pitter, to make eating cherries with kids easier. But if you want to pit a cherry, then here are some of the ways that you can do it:
- Use the side of a knife to press the cherry on a board, as you would do with garlic. The pit will pop out. If you don’t need them whole for decorating a cake, then this can be a way to do it.
- Choose cherries that are shiny, plump and firm with green stems – the cherries will last for longer if they have stems that are still intact. So it is an important point to note if you are out picking your own.
- If you want to cook the cherries for a jam or to put in a cake, then it is a good idea to do so only for a few minutes. You don’t want the cherries to lose the lush colour.
Are you a fan of fresh cherries? Do you use them in baking or just eat them straight out of the punnet? It would be great to hear what you think.
*This post is an entry for the BritMums #lovefreshcherries Challenge, sponsored by Love Fresh Cherries (instagram: @LoveFreshCherries)