The word cherry comes from the ancient Greek word “Cerasus” meaning cherry tree. They seem to have originated from the city in Turkey, Giresun, formerly Cerasus” near the Black Sea. According to the ancient Greeks, cherries came from this specific city, which is how they got their name. The truth is though, that we don’t have the exact details as to where and when they appeared. For many people, this detail makes no difference whatsoever… What matters, is that cherries entered their lives and filled them with so many nutrients and…. delicious taste! Their varieties are truly countless. Each one is distinguished from its own characteristic color, size and flavor. But, if you wanted to separate them into two basic categories, these would be – sweet cherries (Prunus avium) and sour cherries (Prunus cerasus). In Greece, the variety of cherries that are most common, are the dark colored cherries from the areas of “Edessa”, “Grevena”, “Pieria” and many other areas of Southern Greece.
Now that you have learned a few basic facts about cherries, how about taking a look at some of their nutritional facts? You see, despite their small size, cherries make up a little vitamin and nutrient “bomb” for our bodies! 100 g of cherries have about 7 mg vitamin C and 222 mg potassium. They also contain niacin, magnesium, antioxidants, fiber and trace elements. Now you may say, “What do I care? Can I feel how they benefit me?” Well, let me tell you….
- The melatonin, antioxidants and vitamin c found in cherries have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system and the immune system.
- They contribute to the proper function of the digestive and gastrointestinal systems, due to the fiber they contain.
- They have a strong anti-inflammatory effect, which has been confirmed by a research conducted by the University of Michigan.
- They are a natural diuretic and significantly decrease the increased production of uric acid.
- They help regulate the blood sugar levels by increasing the production of insulin in the body.
- They also contain phytosterols that help regulate cholesterol levels.
- Due to their high concentration of melatonin, they can help battle insomnia.
How to choose the best cherries!
Avoid cherries that have any bruises, rips, tears or brown spots. Make sure their color is bright and shiny. You don’t want them to be very dark (since this means that they are too ripe), but not to light colored either (since this means that they are not ripe enough). Finally, from the time you choose them and take them home, you should consume them within 2-3 days as they usually don’t last much longer than that, even if they are in the refrigerator.
How to remove the pits quickly and easily!
Have you chosen your cherries and now you want to use them whole in sweets or in your fruit salads? Then, simply remove the pit. How? In a very simple but effective way that you can find, here.
Now that you have discovered all you need to know about cherries, the time has come to use them in wonderful and unique recipes that will become full of their rich aroma and flavor. Which one will become your new favorite?