by Carrie Johanningmeier, freezer buyer
The tart cherry offers a lot more than just great taste. By eating a small bowl of this delicious fresh red fruit, drinking tart cherry juice concentrate or taking tart cherry capsules as a daily routine, has been said to do wonders for one’s health. Due to its believed pain-fighting abilities, tart cherry juice concentrate is becoming an increasingly popular nutritional supplement.
The common cherry is available in two types. The first is sweet while the second is tart. The sweet is used for direct eating. This cherry is the perfect blend between a refreshing yet tangy fruit. The sweet, or commonly known black cherry, is large in size and is a deep red or purple in color. It is usually the type you find in the Produce section of the Co-op and other grocery stores during the short summer harvest season.
The tart cherry is bright in color, and as the name suggests, are tart in flavor. This type of cherry is used more in cooking. Since a person can only find the actual fresh cherries in-store during a precious few weeks in the summer, many are turning to more year-round fresh-cherry substitutes – including capsules, juice, and dried cherries. Black cherry juice health benefits are just as widespread and wonderful as that of tart cherries and sweet cherries.
The secret believed to be the benefit of cherry juice is a compound called anthocyanins. These are the pigments that give cherries their red color and are also believed to be the key to helping the body relieve inflammation. Anthocyanins also lower blood urates which cause gout, and may significantly reduce your risk for colon cancer. Consuming anthocyanins on a regular basis may help lower heart attack and stroke risk, and current study has been devoted to the benefits of cherry juice and how it may have direct applications in the prevention of cancer.
A single glass of cherry juice may contain the equivalent amount of antioxidants as in 23 portions of other fruits and vegetables. Tart cherry juice concentrate is roughly 7 to 10 times as concentrated as regular cherry juice, and consequently is even richer in antioxidants. Tart cherry juice, and even more so the concentrate, is a source of such important elements and minerals as proteins, sugars, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and sodium.
Tart cherry concentrate can be made from any cherry variety, but Montmorency cherries are one of the most popular in use. The cherry juice concentrate at the Co-op is from Cherry Ridge Juice and contains 100% natural montmorency red tart cherries. Simply add 2 tablespoons of concentrate to 8oz of liquid and drink. Red tart cherry juice concentrate is also tasty mixed with smoothies, shakes and other juice blends.
1 cup non-fat plain or vanilla yogurt
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup tart cherry juice concentrate
1 cup crushed ice
Place yogurt, banana, orange juice, cherry juice concentrate and crushed ice in the container of an electric blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 (8-ounce) servings
2 1/2 teaspoons super fine granulated sugar
3 tablespoons tart cherry juice
12 mint leaves
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
1 ounce white rum
1/2 cup soda or seltzer water
Place 6 mint leaves in a tall glass. Crush mint leaves with a muddler, or with the back of a spoon. Add sugar, tart cherry juice, lime juice, white rum and ice. Mix well. Finish drink with soda water and remaining mint leaves. Stir to combine and serve.