Cherries aren’t a fruit that most people think about juicing. But, let me tell you something. They taste amazing in a juice and they add a tremendous health boost to any juice blend.
Juicing cherries make take a little more effort than you’re used to when you juice. You’ll have to remove the stems and the pits, and then process them through your juicer.
But these little balls of goodness are worth the extra bit of time you’ll have to put in. Trust me.
Let’s talk a little about cherries and why they make such amazing juicing fruits.
Cherries are Sweet
Cherry season may be short, but it’s deliciously sweet.
These little bursts of red and yellow (these are fabulous) joy come around each year for about four weeks, if we’re lucky. But, the pleasure of cherries is one of life’s delicious treasures.
So, grab them while you can.
Cherries arrive at the peak of ripeness during summer, which is typically June through August in North America and late December in Australia and New Zealand.
In the UK, cherries peak in mid-July, and southern Europe sees their best cherries of the season in June.
Cherries need cold weather to germinate, and temperate latitudes to fully mature.
So, the handful of regions that can actually produce cherries supplies the rest of the cherry-loving world with this favorite summertime treat.
Types of Cherries
I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only one waiting for the first crop of sweet cherries to hit the farmers’ markets.
The mountains of dark red Bing cherries barely make their way onto the tables before eager hands pick them up for sampling.
Most of the people I talk to when summer comes around admit that they’ve been waiting all year to savor the luscious flavor of cherries. Talk about patience!
Many say that the piles of Rainier cherries at the local market are the most special.
Their pink and yellow flesh begs to be eaten on the spot. Buying a couple baskets of these is a must when I go shopping for produce.
Cherries are either sweet or sour. The sweet varieties like the deep burgundy Bing, the bright red Lambert, and the light Queen Anne are best for juicing.
Sour, or tart, cherries like the Nanking or Evans can be juiced too. But, they’ll deliver flavor that is quite different than most people are used to.
Most of the sweet cherries sold in North America originate in Washington, California, Oregon, Wisconsin, or Michigan.
Michigan proclaims itself as the cherry capital of the world, and holds a gigantic National Cherry Festival each year.
Sour cherries typically hail from Michigan, Utah, New York and Washington. In Australia, all territories except for the Northwest Territory grow sweet cherries like the Empress, Merchant, Bing, Stella, and Sweetheart.
Nutritional Benefits of Cherries
The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and the Institute for Zoologie and Anthropologie, University Gottingen, Germany recently conducted research confirming other studies that attest to the extraordinary nutritional benefits of cherries.
Scientists discovered high levels of melatonin in Montmorency tart cherries.
Melatonin is naturally produced by the pineal gland in the human body, and is a powerful antioxidant that seeks out and destroys health-compromising free radicals.
Melatonin helps regulate the body’s sleep cycle and aging process, and possesses anti-inflammatory properties in addition to its anti-oxidative qualities.
All cherries are a good source of dietary fiber and Vitamin C.
How to Buy Cherries
One of the most important things that I take note of when purchasing cherries is the source of the fruit.
Cherries are consistently listed on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list, which ranks produce by the amount of chemical pesticide reside found on it.
I always buy certified organic cherries, or I make sure the farmer who supplies my cherries uses organic or biodynamic agricultural methods.
When you find a cherry grower who you trust, choose the cherries that are dark in color for their particular variety and try to pick cherries that still have the green stems attached.
Cherries spoil rapidly after their stems are removed, and last for a mere three to four days, at best.
Cherries should by shiny, bruise-free, and plump, giving ever so slightly to the touch. Farmer’s harvest cherries when they are mature and ripe. They do not ripen off of the tree.
How to Prepare and Store Cherries
After you bring your cherries home, store them unwashed in a paper bag or in a loosely-covered container.
Eat or freeze them within three days.
When you’re ready to eat your cherries, rinse them thoroughly with cool water and just a little bit of aluminum-free baking soda to remove any dirt residue.
To pit, pluck off the stems and remove pits with a cherry pitter or use a sharp knife.
Now, lets indulge in some recipes so you can start juicing cherries.
Cherry Berry Juice
1/4 cup organic cherries, stems removed and pitted
1/4 cup organic strawberries
1/4 cup organic blackberries
Cherry Coconut Juice
1 cup coconut meat
1 cup organic cherries, stems removed and pitted
1 cup organic cherries, stems removed and pitted
1 teaspoon lime juice