By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC
So excited about cherries this month! It’s our first summer in our new house, and we have 3 cherry trees in our backyard. We weren’t sure if they would produce anything, as they hadn’t been maintained previously. Also, they were just sooooo tall that, we thought most of the cherries would be out of our reach and only accessible to our winged friends. Luckily for us, all 3 produced beautiful cherries and with a ladder, we harvested many pounds from the 1st one to produce. We let the birds have the rest. 😉
This was mostly last month, but many places in N. America are beginning their cherry season now. Victoria is a tad early. We’re still not certain the variety of these cherries; we’re thinking they’re ‘Bing’ or ‘Sandra Rose’. (If anyone knows, feel free to comment).
In any case, onto the lovely things about cherries I’d like to share with you today…
ANTIOXIDANT rich! Cherries are one of the most potent antioxidant fruits available to most of us in this region. What this means for you is that they can help reverse the affects of cancer causing free-radical damage and prevent future harm. They are also rich in fibre, helping to bind to toxins in the body and help eliminate them through defecation. The rich minerals in cherries also help with this process by softening the elimination pathways. These minerals are Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus and Potassium. They actually contain MORE potassium than strawberries do! Talk about a refreshing summer fruit! Cherries are a great post workout snack, helping to replenish those lost minerals and decrease muscle aches and pains.
Cherries are known for reducing swelling and inflammation, particularly good for reducing symptoms of gout and diabetes, as well as the risk of stroke. They are generally a great fat buster. So munch on some cherries to shed a few pounds too!
The awesome thing about cherries is that they’re great for insomniacs, or anyone with any sleeping disturbances. Naturally high in melatonin, a hormone produced by our pineal glands that helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycle, cherries make a great sleep retriever.
So, after we picked all of these cherries, snacked on some, shared some with our friends and family I then made some cherry chocolate muffins. Mmmmmm…. For me this was a great way of storing easy snacks in the freezer for after the baby comes and I don’t have time for baking. 😉
Feel free to try this easy recipe with your local cherries and reap the amazing summer benefits now and in the winter months too, if you freeze.
Luscious cherry or dark chocolate cherry???
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free oat flour (or grind your own oats)
- 2 cups sprouted wheat or spelt flour, or your favorite all purpose gf flour blend
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup raw brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
- ¾ cup melted butter or coconut oil
- 1¼ cup milk, almond milk or coconut milk
- 2 tsp vanilla bean extract
- 2 ½ cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped coarse
- ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine flours, baking powder, salt and sweetener in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl mix together milk or dairy-free alternative. Add butter (or coconut oil) and vanilla extract. Stir.
- Add wet to dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in cherries and 3/4 of the dark chocolate.
- Spoon into 9″ greased or paper-lined muffin tins and top with remaining chocolate. Fill them up nicely for good muffin tops, or not so much for little muffins. (I did them smaller for a more freezer friendly size).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Serve warm with butter, non-dairy alternative or enjoy plain. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh – transfer to freezer after a day or 2.