Did your first encounter with a cherry go something like this? You were kid and at a wedding or out to dinner and your parents ordered you a Shirley Temple. Of course you didn’t know what that was, but you were super excited to see that it included what looked like a bright red, sweet cherry skewered with a plastic toothpick and placed elegantly inside your big kid glass. “Wow!” you thought, “cherries are the BEST!” Yes, those maraschino cherries are delicious, but cloyingly sweet and NOTHING like the amazing-ness that is the fresh (or frozen or canned) sweet cherry! Your taste buds have grown up and you should know that fresh, sweet cherries not only taste great, but their amazingly nutritious!
You’ll be happy to know that those (naturally) sweet cherries provide more than just a wallop of juicy goodness, they also supply plenty of nutrition. One cup of pitted, sweet cherries provides 3 grams of fiber, 16% of your Daily Value for Vitamin C and plenty of disease-fighting antioxidants for only about 87 calories!
Fresh vs Frozen vs Canned
Ah, the age old question of which is best, fresh, frozen or canned. Here’s the simplified answer – they’re all great, but read the labels. Fresh cherries are pretty easy, they’re in their natural state and haven’t been altered by cooking or processing, that makes it simple to recommend them. Frozen cherries are a fantastic option, especially since cherry season doesn’t last that long. The caveat here is that you need to make sure you’re buying the unsweetened version, meaning, no sugar is added. Same goes with canned, you can buy cherries this way and they can be just as great as fresh or frozen, you’ll just need to make sure the ingredient list doesn’t include sugar.
How to Pick Sweet Cherries
Most grocery stores sell sweet cherries in bags in the produce section and that can make it hard to select the best bag. Our advice? Be a savvy shopper and pick up the bag, move things around and pick up the cherries to get a better look at them. Ripe, ready-to-eat sweet cherries are shiny and don’t have much in the way of soft spots or bruises and should be wrinkle-free. They should also have some firmness to them which means no squishiness!
Now that you know how awesome cherries are, it’s time to break out the cherry pitter and start finding ways to add them into your meals and snacks. To help you do that, we’ve collected plenty of amazing recipes from some of our favorite foodie dietitians.
- Cherry Crumble with Sage and Brown Butter from Sara Haas of Sara Haas RDN
- Cherry Mint Salsa from Brittany Poulson of Your Choice Nutrition
- Spicy Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites from Shannon Aleise Garcia of Lone Star Nutrition
- Cherry Almond Overnight Oats by Lauren Sharifi of Bite Of Health Nutrition
- Protein Rich Cherry French Toast by Amy Gorin of Amy Gorin Nutrition
- Chocolate Cherry Avocado Muffins by Ann Dunaway Teh of My Menu Pal
- Cherry Pie Smoothie by Amber Ketchum of Homemade Nutrition
- Kale Salad with Cherries and Pistachio Dressing by Meg Salvia of Mostly Balanced
- Spicy Fresh Cherry Chutney by Jessica Fishman Levinson of Nutritioulicious
- Healthy Cherry Limeade by Lindsay Livingston of The Lean Green Bean
- Sweet Cherry Almond Breakfast Risotto by Anne Dahany of Craving Something Healthy
- Double Cherry Oatmeal Bowl by Chelsey Amer of C It Nutritionally
Vegan Cherry Apple Galette With Maple Sugar Crust– makes 4 small galettes (about 4 inch each) by the Artful Desperado
For the crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour*
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 and ¼ stick of vegan butter (we used earth balance), chilled
- 5-6 tbsp iced water
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
For the filling
- 1 lb cherries, pitted (see how in here)
- 2 lbs apples (any kind you like), cored, sliced
- 6 tablespoons maple sugar** (divided in half), plus more for sprinkling crust
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (divided in half)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (divided in half)
* learn the rules for substituting all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour here
**no maple sugar? no problem! sub brown or coconut sugar
- Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix. Add the chilled vegan butter, and break it down into small pea-sized pieces using a couple forks or a pastry blender (try to avoid using your hands as you could melt it). If at any point the vegan butter starts to warm up, put the whole thing in the fridge for 5-10 min to chill. Mix the iced water and the vinegar, then add about 4 tablespoons of the mix to the dough and gently knead until it comes together, add a splash more if needed. It is important that you do not knead the dough a lot or it will become tough. Form a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min.
- Grab 2 medium sized bowls. In one you will put the apples, and in the other the cherries. Each bowl will get: 3 tablespoons of maple sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and ½ tablespoon of cornstarch. The reason we divided the fruit is so that the cherries don’t bleed all over the apples. Mix each bowl well and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
- Take the dough out of the fridge, and roll it until it’s ½ cm thick. Using a plate or bowl that’s about 4 inches, cut circles in the dough (or mark them then cut with a knife). Take each circle and put it on the baking sheet. Divide the apples into each dough circle, making sure to leave space around it to fold the dough and in the centre for the cherries. Add the cherries in the middle of each circle.
- Fold the pastry over inwards, don’t worry about making it perfect. Galettes are always rustic looking. Once you are done folding, brush the edges with a bit of melted vegan butter, then sprinkle with maple sugar all over.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
What are your favorite cherry recipes? Share your recipe in the comments below!
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