Taste the Local Difference says that sweet cherries are ready to pick! A quick check of Real Time Farms and the photos in the Absolute Michigan pool shows that cherries are available across Michigan. They were available so early this year that the National Cherry Festival which is happening now and usually has to import cherries was able to use local cherries. A few facts about cherries:
- Cherries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, and fiber.
- Cherries have among the highest levels of antioxidants compared with other fruits.
- The United States produces more than 650 million pounds of tart and sweet cherries. Michigan grows about 75 percent of the U.S. crop of tart cherries, and about 20 percent of the US crop of sweet cherries.
- Some of the sweet cherry varieties grown in Michigan are: Emperor, Napoleon, Francis, and Schmidt.
- Some studies show that eating about 20 cherries a day could reduce inflammatory pain and headache pain.
You can get lots more cherry goodness from Taste the Local Difference’s cherry articles and also at absolutemichigan.com/Cherries! Speaking of cherry goodness and in keeping with the no-fuss style of cooking that summertime requires, here’s a couple of easy cherry recipes that we like:
Cherries with Ricotta and Toasted Almonds
3/4 cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries
2 Tbsp. part-skim ricotta
1 Tbsp. toasted slivered almonds
If frozen, heat cherries in the microwave briefly to soften. Otherwise, top the cherries with ricotta and almonds. (Food Network)
Partially freeze 2 cups of sweet cherries, then thread them on skewers, alternating with 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks. Combine: 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. honey, and1/2 tsp. curry powder in a small bowl; mix well.
Place kabobs on grill over medium coals. Brush with mixture. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, turning and basting with sauce after each turn. (Taste the Local Difference’s own Janice Benson)