What George Washington Didn’t Know About Cherries

Cherry Mix

photo: FingerLakesFeasting.com

Happy Presidents Day folks! Lots of friends from abroad are jealous of us for the great long holiday weekends we as a nation have put together during the year. So if you are off work today to celebrate Presidents’ Day, make the best of it.

One of the legends around our founding president was that he chopped down his father’s cherry tree. And of course how he came forth honestly. But had little George known the health benefits of cherries, would he have thought twice about hacking the tree?

What you need to know:

There are 2 main types of cherries available to consumers in the US. The sweet dark red cherries we see in the summertime, and the tart cherries most people use for pie filling. The most famous sweet cultivar is the Bing Cherry.

Nutritionally, cherries have been called a superfood because of their high antioxidant content. They contain an assortment of antioxidants including anthocyanins. These are a type of flavonoid responsible for the red pigment in cherries and berries. In various clinical trials they have been shown to reduce inflammation in lab animals. This can be of potential benefit to people suffering from arthritis and gout.

Cherries are also a good source of vitamin A. Tart cherries are only 9% sugar by weight compared to 13% for sweet cherries.

Another nice benefit of cherries is that over 90% are “Made in the USA”. Top states include New York, Michigan, Washington and Oregon. Cherries are not native to the New World. The earliest known cultivation was in what is now Turkey, over 2000 years ago.

What to do at the supermarket:

When in season, red sweet cherries are glorious. Look for big, firm fruit, with a glossy dark hue. Little kids love cherries, just make sure to pit them beforehand.

Although fresh red cherries have a very short marketing window, you can buy dried or frozen tart cherries all year round. Add them to your granola, cereal, yogurt, and salads.

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  • http://www.amber-hinds.com/ Amber @ Au Coeur

    I get the President’s Day connection, but really it seems like a post like this would be much more effective in June.

    http://www.amber-hinds.com

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

      Tart cherries are available year round – frozen, dried.

  • http://www.bitchinnutrition.com/ Brooke/ Bitchin’ Nutrition

    Happy Presidents Day!  Reading this post, made me flashback to picking cherries with my family in our Indiana backyard :)   

  • JillCF7

    Are tart cherries better for you than sweet ones?

  • Anonymous

    Frozen sweet cherries make the most glorious shake.  Here’s the recipe.
                                        CHERRY BLOSSOM
    1/2 c. frozen sweet cherries
    1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
    1/2 packet stevia
    Drop of almond flavoring
    Blend it all together and enjoy!  And less than 75 calories!
               (from “Eat All Day – Drink All Day”)

  • Conniejzamudio

    I like the idea of adding cherries to a salad. This was very good information, loved it. Thank you :)

  • Pingback: New Evidence Tells Truth of George Washington’s Cherry Tree Tale « Carl Anthony Online: Presidential Pop Culture, Holidays, Historic Food, Americana & Dogs

  • Anonymous

     So… you seem to offer only tepid praise for the cherry: “…cherries have been called superfoods…”. I guess you’re not ‘all in’ on that claim?