Saturday, July 14, 2007

Confessions

Here I have been touting the benefits of apricots when the reality is that in private, I’ve been glutting myself on another. Yes, that’s right, step aside apricot there is another superstar on the block who has wooed me…whose succulent sweetness is even more delicious and coveted; whose decadent charm cannot be denied; a fruit who has captivated our imaginations for centuries; and who has enriched the English language by lending itself to numerous expressions. You guessed it; I’m talking about the cherry. Isn’t life just a “bowl of cherries?” When we really want something, don’t we say, “pretty please with a cherry on top?” And haven’t we all at one point or another been guilty of “cherry picking?’

Well, the cherry and I have a long history. Cherries bring back a myriad of childhood memories. What little girl hasn’t hung a pair of cherries over her ears, creating beautifully round crimson earrings and being instantly transformed into a princess? And show me someone who doesn’t glean great delight from grabbing a handful of cherries from a bowl, sucking out all of their sweet goodness and then spitting out the pit.

But seriously, cherries are today’s hottest “super fruit.” Science is now revealing that cherries have among the highest levels of disease fighting antioxidants of all fruits. They have a rich supply of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are more effective than vitamin C and four times more potent as an antioxidant than vitamin E. It has been compared to ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen for their anti-inflammatory action. Have gout, arthritis or even a headache? Perhaps you should be eating cherries.

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine Program found that a cherry-enriched diet helped reduce risk factors for heart disease and metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome or pre-diabetes. And…cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin. According to Dr Russel Reiter, a nutrition researcher and one of the world’s authorities on melatonin, eating cherries might possibly be a way to boost the body’s melatonin levels to hasten sleep and fight jet lag

Back to my story: initially, I had a whole box of cherries. I had great plans of drying some and making brandied cherries with the rest (a great winter treat). But those plans were quickly left by the wayside as I started in on the box content to eat until my tongue turned purple. At the tail end, I remembered an intriguing recipe posted over at La Tartine Gourmande: Chocolate Clafoutis! Now how could one go wrong with what amounts to cherries cooked in chocolate pudding? Delicious! Now if I get another box, perhaps I'll share my easy, easy recipe for no fail Black Forest Cake.


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, Carla - you know how to 'capture the imagination' of someone and equally make them realise just what they have missed from their childhood days.

You have a gift of writing - that one is drawn into picture (tempting it is too).

Now where can I buy some cherries - "pretty please" - Luv it!!

Peter

JBelle said...

Share it anyway!

Annie Wicking and Loman Austen said...

Hi Carla, My friend Esther, My much beloved and I have been out collecting wild cherries from our hedgerows around the village. We didn't know there were so many trees.

The funny thing was, I have a cherry tree in my garden and the fruits were swelling nicely but could I get a looking in, No!

A female blackbird had marked them out as her own and stood guard over them. Every time one of them riped off enough for her to eat it was gone before I could grab it. The noise she made if anyone one or any bird came close to the tree she would see them off.

Best wishes

Annie

Beccy said...

I love cherries, we ate loads in France and even bought a cherry stoner. Unfortunately they are incredibly expensive here so we just have a few.

Fede said...

Except that long time ago the was also a little prince that used to wear beautiful cherry earrings...

Carla said...

Peter, I'm glad I made you question what you've been missing. Cherries really are an amazing fruit. I hope you find some.

JBelle, I probably will as it is always a favorite around here (old family recipe). When I have just a bit more time I will make one up.

Carla said...

Annie, We have wild cherries around here as well. They are not quite a fleshy, but are still ever so tasty. One just has to watch out for the bears who seem to enjoy them equally as well. I understand what you mean by birds.

My parents have a couple of Stellar's Jays who guard their hazelnut tree. They sure squawk and caw at anyone who gets too close.

Carla said...

Beccy, Cherries are very expensive in the grocery stores here too. However, if we go out to the farms or even the local fruit stands, we can purchase them for a much more reasonable price.

Fede, At one time all very lucky children had the pleasure of wearing cherry earrings.

Pamela said...

oh yum. My favorite cherry is the Rainier. It just bursts in your mouth and the flavor makes your jaw spasm all the way back behind your ears.

I gotta go check out that recipe

dawn said...

Okay, that is just rude. Some of us don't live in places where those wonderful fruit grow. Now I really want to take a trip. Are the cherries at the end of the season now or will they be around for a couple of weeks?

Those are awesome photos again and a great write up. Keep them coming.

Carla said...

Pamela, That recipe is a definite keeper. It's so easy and fast, yet absolutely delicious.

Dawn, The South Okanagan cherries are probably getting close to their end (a week or so), but the Creston cherries, which are even better will probably continue through to the first or second week of August. There will also be cherries in the North Okanagan, which are around for longer than in the south, but they tend to always be more expensive. Hope that helps.

Cheryl said...

Ooh, yum, I remember reading her post about the chocolate clafoutis! I guess I better go get some more cherries before they're over.
I didn't realize that they have such amazing anti-inflammatory qualities. Do you think dried cherries would have the same effect?

Carla said...

Hi Cheryl, From what I've read, cherries seem to be recommended in all their forms...even canned. Reiter, the melatonin specialist says that concentrations of melatonin are even higher in dried cherries and suggests that airlines should be handing those out instead of peanuts. Melatonin has great anti-aging properties.

BurdockBoy said...

Down the hill in Sandpoint there are an amazing number of bing, Ranier, and pie cherry trees growing in public places and overhaning in alleys. I totally slacked this year on gathering them, but one could easily pick dozens of pounds of free cherries. In fact I have one friend that did just that.

Next year I will be on it.

Carla said...

Burdockboy, I can't believe you missed out on that one!!! I would've been all over it.

Paul said...

But here is the dark side of cherries:

If you're in south Florida, never park your car under a tree filled with birds that it turns out have been eating cherries.

Sirdar said...

I like cherries too and they are better when they are fresh like down where you live. Many years ago...BC (Before Children), Dawn and I rode our bikes from Calgary to Kelowna. On the way we stopped at a fruit stand and bought some cherries. Oh man where they good. They were also good for something else...but I don't think you want to hear about that :-)

Thanks for the tips on the cherry season. As I said before we will be there at the end of August and hope there is something that is in season still....

Carla said...

Paul, I can only imagine. Very good advice, indeed. Do you speak from experience?

Sirdar, Lots will still be in season at the end of August. You should be able to find peaches, tomatoes, plums, transparent apples and grapes, plus a whole range of vegetables. Hopefully there's something in that list that you like.

Steffi said...

I like cherries too and they are delicious!Unfortunately they are really expensive in our supermarket.My parents have two big and old cherry trees in their garden.
Your pictures are really beautiful again.

Cheryl said...

Are you suggesting that I need help with anti-aging?!
:D

rowena said...

Amen to cherries! They are the fruit that fills our fruit bins when in season.

I'm on the hunt for the Picota cherries of Spain. They are said to be very good...

thailandchani said...

Who knew? I had no idea about most of this and always liked cherries because I like the color.

Gee, sometimes I'm so shallow. LOL


Peace,

~Chani

Variant E said...

That was a nice step back to thinking about climbing a large cherry tree as a kid and eating way too many of them because you couldn't resist.

I always leave a bowl full of them in the kitchen when they are in season. They make a great grab and nibble when moving around the house.

Carla said...

Steffi, You are lucky your parents have a cherry tree. I would like to plant one. There are lots of wild cherry trees around here, they grow really well in this area.

Cheryl dahhhhlin, I would never suggest anything of the sort. Just letting you know what us mere mortals have to contend with. ;-)

Carla said...

Rowena, Ooh, picota cherries. Never heard of them, but I bet they're delicious!

Chani, I would have chosen cherries based on their beauty too. They indeed are a lovely little fruit.

Carla said...

Variant E, Cherries bring back lots of great childhood memories for me as well. They are great snacking food, but they never last long around here.

jillie said...

I could eat cherries until I blow up!! I can never get enough of that sweet luscious fruit....I think I am going to have to go and buy me some now.

YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMIE

Mark said...

I too love cherries and everything cherry! Thanks for the lesson on cherries!

tkkerouac said...

Cherries have always been my favorite of all fruits. These photos are delicious.
After reading about the antioxidants, I'm hitting the grocery store.

Carla, is it rude, to spit the pits across a room? Into the sand? Did you see the Witches of Eastwood? If so, do you remember the Cherry scene?

Carla said...

Jillie, So could I!!! Seriously!

Mark, Cherries are truly amazing. One of my favorites.

Carla said...

Tracey, Cherries are definitely worth it. "The Witches of Eastwick,"...that was so long ago. Spitting pits into the sand? Absolutely not! Across the room...perhaps.

Pink said...

I've been eating cherries by the bowl full over here in the UK. Sometimes life really is a bowl of cherries.
xx

Debbie said...

I too really love your writing.

I love cherries!!

Carla said...

Pink, Yes, life really is a bowl of cherries sometimes...or like tonight, a whole sink full.

Debbie, Thanks! Cherries are marvelous!!