Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Cherries! Cherries! Cherries!

Hi peeps!

Introducing one of my favourite little fruits ever....cherries!

Some facts about these delicious little gems...

Get a better night’s sleep.

Tart cherries are one of nature’s few sources of melatonin, a hormone that lowers body temperature, making us sleepy. When study volunteers drank an ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate in the morning and again at night, they slept more soundly. Even better: sipping the tart concentrate may provide an alternative to a melatonin supplement. “The melatonin in tart cherry juice is very well absorbed and is utilized by the body to provide an effect that could rival melatonin supplements,” says study author Glyn Howatson, Ph.D.

Balance your blood pressure.

Sweet cherries are loaded with potassium, a natural blood-pressure reducer. Potassium balances fluids in our bodies, essentially offsetting the blood-pressure-raising effects of sodium. So it’s no wonder studies have found that people who eat more potassium-rich foods, like sweet cherries, tend to have less hypertension. One cup of these ruby gems packs roughly the same amount of potassium as a small banana and also boasts some quercetin, an antioxidant that may help keep blood vessels relaxed and supple.

Ease muscle soreness.

Tart cherry juice may quell post-workout pain, says a 2010 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study. Runners who downed 24 ounces of tart cherry juice daily (about 480 calories) for seven days before a long-distance race, and again on race day, reported fewer aches afterward than runners who drank a placebo. Researchers believe that tart cherries’ antioxidants protect against attacks by exercise-induced free radicals, which can lead to painful inflammation.

Combat cancer.

Sweet cherries are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, anthocyanins and quercetin, which may work together synergistically to fight cancer. Plus, preliminary studies suggest the anthocyanin cyanidin may prevent genetic mutations that can lead to cancer and keep cancer cells from growing out of control. While tart cherries contain some anthocyanins, sweet cherries pack nearly three times as many (two-thirds are found in the skins). The riper the better: as cherries darken, they produce more antioxidants.

Wow too cool right?! But what could we use cherries for besides decorating cakes? How about a hot slice of good ole cherry pie? Let's get baking peeps!

Ingredients
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups pitted cherries
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Place bottom crust in pie pan. Set top crust aside, covered.

Roll out half the crust and line a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate until needed. Roll out the top crust and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine tapioca, salt, sugar, cherries, and extracts. Let stand 15 minutes. Turn out into bottom crust and dot with butter. Cover with top crust, flute edges and cut vents in top. Place pie on a foil-lined cookie sheet--in case of drips!

Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Let cool for several hours before slicing.In a large mixing bowl combine tapioca, salt, sugar, cherries, and extracts. Let stand 15 minutes. Turn out into bottom crust and dot with butter. Cover with top crust, flute edges and cut vents in top.

Serve with cream or ice cream.

Happy chomping peeps! And thanks to google for the awesome cherry info.

Have yourself a slice of cherry pie!
Chef Shants xxxxx

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