Pick Some Prevention
Prevent a variety of cancers.
Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
With their hard little pits and rich, shirt-staining colors, these colorful orbs take a bit more work to eat than many fruits.
But research suggests that these little super fruits, which contain a compound called perillyl alcohol, are worth the bother-and then some.
Perillyl alcohol is about the best thing we've ever seen for curing mammary cancer in laboratory animals.
In fact, it shows so much promise that it's being tried in cancer patients at the University of Wisconsin.
Perillyl alcohol belongs to a group of compounds called monoterpenes.
Limonene, found in the peel of citrus fruits, is another member of this family.
These compounds have been shown in studies to block the formation of a variety of cancers, including those of the breasts, lungs, stomach, liver, and skin.
Expectations for perillyl alcohol are high, in part, because it's 5 to 10 times more potent than limonene, which itself has been proven to be very effective.
It's not yet known how much perillyl alcohol there is in cherries.
Even in small amounts, however, the compound probably has some beneficial effects.
So these super fruits, when eaten as part of a well-rounded diet, can play a small but important role in helping the body ward off cancer.
In The Kitchen
Fresh and at their ever-loving, mouth-watering best from May through July.
To get the sweetest taste from the harvest, here are some tips you may want to try.
Check the stems.
When buying, make sure that the stems are green.
Dark colored stems are a tip-off that they've have been sitting in the bin too long.
Buy in small quantities.
These dynamos are highly perishable.
Even when properly stored in the refrigerator, they'll only keep for a few days.
So plan on buying only what you're going to eat right away.
Washing cherries ahead of time can cause them to spoil in the refrigerator.
So it's best to store them dry, then wash them as needed.
It's important, however, to wash them thoroughly.
These super fruits are often coated with a mixture of insecticides, anti-fungal oils and moisture seals that producers use to keep them fresh.
Use up the extras.
When you're tired of munching on them, you may want to try a little juice.
Simply wash, stem, pit, and crush em.
Heat them in a saucepan, then press the mixture through a strainer.
Refrigerate several hours, then pour off the clear juice and add sugar to taste.
Vitamin-C & More
There's more to them than exotic new compounds.
They also contain a variety of healing compounds.
For example, a half-cup of the sour variety has 5 milligrams of vitamin-C, about 8 percent of the Daily Value (DV).
They also provide vitamins-A and E.
The sweet variety also contain these nutrients, but not as much of vitamins-A and E as their mouth-puckering kin.
The vitamin-E in these super fruits are of particular interest, since one study of postmenopausal women found that those who consumed the most vitamin-E had the least risk of heart disease.
And there was an interesting twist.
The women who got their vitamin-E naturally, solely from food, had less risk than women who were also taking vitamin-E supplements.
The problem with vitamin-E is that it's difficult to get the DV of 30 international units from food alone.
In fact, the only foods with a lot of vitamin-E are high-fat cooking oils and nuts, which you don't want a lot of.
These super fruits are one of the better food sources for vitamin-E.
Finally, these super fruits contain a compound called quercetin.
Like vitamin-C and other antioxidants, quercetin helps block the damage caused by free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules in the body.
Studies show that quercetin and similar acting compounds may significantly reduce the risk of stroke and also cancer.
The Pleasure Pit
The maraschino variety is perhaps the only fruit that spends most of its life in a jar.
Used to add a jolt of color to fruit cocktails and a swirl of sweetness to Shirley Temples, this variety doesn't have much in common with their on-the-tree kin.
Made by steeping pitted cherries in a flavored sugar syrup, maraschinos have never gotten much respect, not only because of their sticky-sweet taste but also because their fire engine-red color originally came from harmful dyes.
Even though safer dyes are now being used, maraschinos, which were originally flavored with maraschino liqueur, aren't exactly a healthful food.
They're essentially devoid of nutrients and fiber, and they're high in calories, with 60 calories in a l ounce serving, or about 10 calories per.
Of course, it's unlikely that you'd ever eat more than one or two maraschinos at a time, so they really won't do you any harm.
Go ahead and enjoy them.
Just be sure to lick the red from your lips when you're done.
Relief for Gout
Folklore is full of stories about people who relieved the agonizing pain of gout by eating them or drinking the juice daily.
While the Arthritis Foundation says that there's no evidence to suggest this really can ease the ache of gout, many gout sufferers swear by them.
A survey by Prevention magazine found that 67 percent of readers who tried this remedy for gout had good results.
We'd suggest that people with gout should ease up eating red meats and organ meats, but also drink two to three glasses of this juice a day.
We recommend using pure black-cherry juice diluted with an equal amount of water.
Those who have followed this diet faithfully have all gotten results, some within 48 to 72 hours, and some within a week, depending on the severity.
Getting the Most
Eat them raw.
Because cooking destroys some of the vitamin-C and other nutrients, it's best to eat them raw to reap their full nutritional bounty.
Prepare them for baking.
While it's easy to eat the sweet ones raw, that's really not an option for the sour kinds.
Still, they're high enough in a variety of nutrients that they'll keep some of their value even after baking.
Prep Time: 10 min
Makes: 4 Servings
Cook Time: 10 min
Celebrate fresh cherries with this mint-infused cherry cocktail.
Black cherry-flavored seltzer gives the drink the most flavor, but plain seltzer also works well.
1 c. pitted fresh or frozen (thawed) cherries
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
8 tsp. sugar
6 oz. (3/4 c.) dark rum
1/4 c. lime juice
3 c. cherry-flavored seltzer
1. Divide cherries, mint leaves and sugar among 4 glasses.
Mash everything together with the back of a wooden spoon.
Stir in rum and lime juice.
Fill glasses with ice and top with seltzer.
Garnish with mint sprigs.
Calories 163 cal.
Carbohydrates 16 g.
Dietary Fiber 1 g.
Fat 0 g.
Saturated Fat 0 g.
Protein 1 g.
Potassium 131 mg.
Sodium 2 mg.Tweet
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