There are basically two types of cherries: sweet and tart. Tart cherries are often used in cooking and baking, while sweets are the type you buy fresh at the store to snack on, says Heller. “Both have been found in studies to have health benefits,” she says.
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Read on to discover more about this juicy summer staple.
According to the USDA, one cup of fresh cherries contains:
Keep cherries fresh by storing them in the refrigerator, ideally in a shallow container so that the cherries on top don’t crush the cherries on the bottom. Rinse your cherries in cool water just before eating.
The simplest way to enjoy sweet cherries is to eat them as a snack fresh out of the fridge, taking care to remove the pits and stems before swallowing.
If you enjoy cherries regularly, consider purchasing a cherry pitter — the OXO Cherry and Olive Pitter is a well-rated, reasonably priced option ($10.99, Target.com). This tool will make cooking, baking, and snacking with cherries more convenient.
By the way, accidentally swallowing a cherry pit is unlikely to be harmful, but pits can pose a serious choking hazard, particularly for children.
Courtney Darsa, RDN, CDCES, a certified diabetes care and education specialist in New York City, recommends combining cherries with nuts for a fiber, protein, and fat combination that’s satiating. What’s more, the vitamin C in the cherries will help your body better absorb the iron in the nuts, she says.
If cherries aren’t in season, you can still enjoy sweet cherries by buying them frozen. Pour some into a small bowl and eat them as you would frozen berries. You can also cook frozen cherries down into a no-sugar added sauce to top ice cream, yogurt, pancakes, and even meat (such as chicken or pork).
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Tart cherries are available dried (stir them into hot oatmeal, sprinkle them over yogurt, or add them to trail mix), as preserves (great for toast), frozen (for use in desserts and baking), or as juice (drink as is, or add a splash to sparkling water for a mocktail).