Edwards-Haines: Cherries offer health benefits

Salsa anyone? We were having a light supper with salsa, and thought we’d kick the salsa up a notch by adding chopped cherries.

Having recently transplanted myself from Toronto to Kelowna, one of the many delightful things I’m loving about living in the Okanagan is the abundance of fresh, right-off-the-tree fruit.

For example, I’m astounded at the profusion of cherries.

Over the past several weeks, hubby and I have been picking heaps of luscious cherries from a variety of orchards.

With our larder full to overflowing with these succulent stone fruits, we’ve had to be creative in using them. Just in case you’re looking for suggestions on how to use up your bounty, let me share with you some of our delicious ideas.

First, salsa anyone? We were having a light supper of baked, organic, tortilla chips with salsa, and thought we’d kick the salsa up a notch by adding chopped cherries.

Hubby initially questioned my culinary logic, but then couldn’t get enough of it.

You could do the fruity-salsa-thing with other luscious fruits such as peaches, apricots and mangoes for a nice savoury-with-a-hint-of-sweet flavour sensation.

Next, we wanted to make a yummy cherry jam without the mounds of processed sugar usually added, so we simply blended pitted cherries with some pitted dates, chia seeds and a little maple syrup.  Totally yummy, and totally nutritious.

For breakfast, I usually make my Green Breakfast Smoothie with several fruits, nuts, ground flax, greens such as kale or spinach, and a few other ingredients.

Well, tossing in a handful of cherries in all their deeply-hued goodness really “upped” the nutrition quotient by adding a goodly amount of vitamin A and potassium. Also, phytosterols in the cherries help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Then we thought we’d top all of our other creations with something totally decadent—cherry cheesecake.

We whipped up ours with, amongst other ingredients, a “cheese” made of cashews instead of cream cheese, and a crust of almonds, walnuts and dates.

This “raw” creation was so seriously yummylicious, we could barely wait the four hours for it to set in the freezer.

Truth be told, we pulled it out after one hour and totally immersed ourselves in enjoying a slice—or two.

Finally, we froze a batch of cherries for other upcoming, exciting concoctions.

Summer in the Okanagan sure is juicy, which makes it wonderfully easy to get the seven to eight daily servings of vegetables and fruit that Health Canada recommends. Hey, have you had yours today?


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