Available for just a few short weeks these golden and blush toned cherries are a special treat for the spring. Named after Mount Rainier, the Rainier cherry originated in 1952 as a cross between two common cherry varieties. Bred by Washington State University, the west coast provides an intricate climate which develops the plump, sweet Rainier cherries better than any other region.
Washington state remains the leader in production, and the original tree that produced the first Rainier cherries continues to stand and grow fruit in the town of Prosser, Washington.
Rainier cherries are very delicate. They bruise easily and are more likely to be damaged by wind and rain. Due to their high sugar content one-third of the crop is eaten by birds. For these reasons Rainier cherries are much more expensive than regular cherries.
Cherries are considered a stone fruit, along with apricots, plums, and peaches. While small, cherries are a nutrient powerhouse. Ranked as one of the top 20 antioxidant rich foods to reduce free radicals in the body , reduce inflammation, and reduce the risk of cancer.
One cup of cherries is 90 calories and contains 3g fiber. Men are encouraged to consume 30-38g fiber and women are encouraged to consume 21-25g fiber daily. Cherries can help you reach your recommended daily amount. In the same one cup of cherries is 16% of your recommended vitamin C to support a healthy immune system and collagen formation. You will also find 260mg potassium, an electrolyte that conducts electricity in the body essential for nerve function, heart beat, and muscle
Cherries are also one of the few foods that contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates circadian rhythm (also known are the body’s internal clock). Melatonin regulates sleep and some studies have reported participants improving their sleep upon drinking tart cherry juice daily.
Cherries are a delicious part of a well balanced diet. Enjoy them on top of plain yogurt, blended into a smoothie, tossed into a salad, or by themselves for dessert.