The sweet and sour cherry berry is loved by many as a traditional jam. But in this form, the concentration of nutrients decreases. Find out how to get the most out of cherries and how they can help the body.
Cherry is a flowering fruit tree, belongs to the genus of plums, the pink family. The first mentions of cherries were found 2000 years ago. They began to cultivate the plant in the territories where China and the Caucasus are now located.
In fact, from a botanical point of view, cherry refers to stone fruit. But traditionally, it is called a berry.
Cherries originated in Byzantium in the 11th century. The word “cherry” refers to the common Slavic derivatives of the German “Wechsel” and the Latin “Viscum.” The original meaning of these words is “sticky sap tree.”
There are museums and monuments dedicated to cherries in different countries. They were opened because a huge amount of cherries was grown and processed here.
People value not only fruits but also decorative qualities. The mutation led to the emergence of sakura, a famous cherry tree in Japan. In spring, cherry blossoms turn cities into an amazing sight that attracts tourists from all over the world. In Japan, thoughtful admiration of flowers even has a separate name – “o-hanami.”
Cherries are famous because they contain a wide list of vitamins and minerals, although they do not hold the record for the content of any particular substance.
Especially there is a lot of vitamins A and C in these berries. 100 grams of cherries will provide about 20% of the daily requirement for vitamin A and 17% for vitamin C. Many flavonoids provide better absorption of vitamin C and therefore benefit our immunity, skin, hair, and joints.
There are many B vitamins in cherries and various minerals: potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron.
A variety of organic acids give the berry a sour taste. Tryptophan, folic, malic, salicylic, succinic, citric, and other acids stimulate digestion and gastric juice production. They also inhibit the growth of harmful putrefactive bacteria. The pectins in cherries envelop the intestines and accelerate peristalsis.
More useful properties
Anthocyanins, which are antioxidants, give cherries their red color. They have a protective effect by helping cells cope with oxidative stress.
Several studies confirm the benefits of cherries for athletes due to the high concentration of anthocyanins, which, among other things, have anti-inflammatory effects. Athletes with cherries in their diets recover faster and can exercise for longer.
The influence of cherries and cherry juice on the heart and blood vessels is known. Vitamin PP, together with ascorbic acid, positively affects blood vessels, increasing their permeability. And the coumarins in the berry are involved in regulating the clotting process, preventing blood clots’ formation, and thinning the blood.
- Caloric content per 100 grams 52 kcal
- Protein 0.8 g
- Fat 0.2 g
- Carbohydrates 10.6 g
Due to the abundance of acids in their composition, cherries are very irritating to the stomach lining and cause heartburn. Therefore, you should not eat it on an empty stomach; it is better to consume it at the end of a meal.
For the same reason, it is worth rinsing the mouth after consuming cherries, as the acid destroys the teeth’ enamel.
“Due to the high acidity of the product, cherries can harm people with increased acidity of the stomach, exacerbation of peptic ulcer disease, gastritis. It is worth carefully including this berry in the diet for people with allergic reactions during exacerbations, ”advises nutritionist Sharon Piga, a doctor.
The use in medicine
In medicine, cherry fruits are practically not popular. Cherry gum is used – the same sticky resin. In pharmacology, people add it to various drugs as an emulsifier and for other purposes.
Because of their strong aroma, people add cherries to potions and lozenges as a natural flavoring agent. Cherry stalks can be found in the form of a dietary supplement. They are efficient as a natural diuretic with a mild effect on the body.
Scientists in America conducted experiments that confirmed cherry juice’s ability to improve sleep quality and relieve stress. Drinking two glasses of juice shortly before bed increased sleep time to one and a half hours. The proanthocyanidins in cherries slowed down the breakdown of tryptophan, which is involved in synthesizing the sleep hormone melatonin. True, the process started only with the constant intake of a certain large dose of juice, which is not very good for the stomach.
Acids in cherries help to increase the natural acidity of gastric juice if it is low. Therefore, cherries are not good for those who suffer from low acidity.
The use of cherries in cooking
Cherries are a fairly versatile berry. You may use it in any recipe with berries and fruits.
Cherries are very aromatic and have a pleasant sourness. Therefore they are suitable not only for sweet recipes but also for meat dishes.
Quick cherry and almond strudel
It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare a traditional strudel, but the recipe can be greatly accelerated. Use pita bread to avoid the tedious mess of dough. Starch can be replaced with a few tablespoons of ground crackers.
- Thin lavash – 1 large sheet
- Cherries – 300 gr
- Sugar – about 60 grams, to taste
- Starch – 1 tsp with a slide
- Egg – 1 piece
- Milk – 1 tbsp. l
- Vanilla sugar – 10 gr
Wash the cherries, tear off the tails and remove the seeds. Cover the berry with sugar. After the cherry has released the juice, drain it into a separate container – it is not used in this recipe. Cover the berry without juice with starch and stir.
Beat the egg with vanilla sugar and a spoonful of milk. Lubricate one side of the pita bread with the mixture. Put the cherries with starch on the pita bread’s dry side, flatten and roll up a tight roll. Lay it seam down into the mold. Grease, the roll on the top with the remaining egg mixture, and bake in an oven, preheated 180 degrees. It will take about 20-25 minutes to bake.
Before serving, sprinkle the strudel with icing sugar and let cool slightly. Cut into portions and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
Dumplings with cherries
One of the most famous cherry recipes. To simplify sculpting, you can use special “molds” for sculpting dumplings. Dumplings can be made in reserve and frozen.
- Flour – 3 cups
- Coldwater – 2/3 cup
- Egg – 1 piece
- Cherries – 2 cups
- Sugar – about 1/4 cup
- Salt to taste
Beat the egg with a pinch of salt, mix with water. Then pour all the flour on the table in a slide, make a hole in the center, and pour in the egg mixture. Mix with flour, gradually collecting it from the edges towards the center. Wrap the finished dough in a bag and leave to lie down at room temperature for half an hour. Then take it out, knead it again, and put it in a bag again for 15 minutes.
Wash the cherries, remove the seeds and cover the berries with sugar. The berry will let the juice go; it needs to be drained.
Divide the dough into several pieces, roll out each separately to not have time to dry out and crack. Wrap the dough that is not rolling out now in a bag.
Roll out a piece of dough into a thin layer of about 2 mm. Cut out circles with a glass, put a few cherries in the center. Fold the mug in half, pinch the edges and place the finished dumplings on a floured surface.
This amount of dumplings should be cooked in 2-3 liters of water. Please bring it to a boil, add the dumplings one at a time, and occasionally stir so that they do not stick together. After the dumplings come up, cook on low heat for another 4 minutes.
After the water boils again and the dumplings float up, you need to reduce the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve with sour cream.
How to choose and store cherries
When choosing, it is important to pay attention to the elasticity and integrity of the skin. If the tails are torn off, the cherries quickly begin to juice and spoil.
But the color is not so important – it all depends on the variety. Not all varieties become dark after ripening, almost black; some retain a bright red color. You can touch it to make sure the berry is ripe. It should be quite soft but not burst under your fingers.
Cherries, like most berries, are not stored for long. Ripe ones can lie in the refrigerator for about five days, unripe ones – more than a week. Frozen cherries are well stored, as well as dried in a dehydrator or a minimally preheated oven. When dried, the maximum of vitamins is preserved; this is one of the best ways to store cherries. In frozen form, in jams and preserves, a considerable part of the nutrients is nevertheless destroyed.
Check out the chill drink recipe provided in this video below: