For a lot of my life, I thought this is what cherries looked like:
I don’t think it was until I was in college that I realized cherries didn’t come in a jar (I know). In fact, those things are really not cherries at all. According to Wikipedia, a maraschino cherry is a preserved, sweetened cherry: first preserved in a brine solution usually containing sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride to bleach the fruit, then soaked in a suspension of food coloring (common red food dye, FD&C Red 40), sugar syrup, and other components.
Uh…that ain’t food.
When I found out about fresh cherries, it totally rocked my world. I also realized that most cherry-flavored things don’t taste like cherries at all. Fresh cherries are so much better in every way!
Fresh cherries are at their peak during the summer months. Lately, every time I’m at the grocery store or a farmer’s market I can’t help but notice how beautiful the piles of fresh cherries look. I always end up buying a bag of them and snacking on them until my fingers are stained bright red.
Cherries (like other berries) are a rich source of antioxidants, which means they can help repair and prevent damage to your cells. You can tell by their dark red color that they are super high in nutrients. They’ve also been known to help with arthritis, joint pain and inflammation — and I just found out they contain melatonin, which can help regulate sleep.
This article in the Huffington Post says researchers at Michigan State University found the anthocyanins that make cherries red could help relieve pain more effectively than aspirin. That is too cool.
There’s really no reason you shouldn’t go get some fresh cherries right now and snack away (unless you’re allergic to them).
Cherries are one of those foods that make me realize how beautiful nature is. They are so cute I can’t stand it! AND they’re useful for our health. Win-win.