June is just around the corner...can you smell the cherries?
June is upon us and together with the heat, swimming in the sea, and the longing for holidays, it brings … cherries!
Small red balls of juicy pulp symbolize the beginning of summer. Their sweet and rich taste has, "one leading to another," and are among the few fruits that are truly seasonal - all the more reason for a rich feast in this period!
Secrets to buying the best and the recipe for jam
The cherry tree in bloom is a spectacle and is linked to different traditions. The saddest, coming from Japan, in which the samurai identify a blooming cherry tree as the ideal place to commit suicide. To the happiest, a Sicilian tradition, of swearing eternal love under a cherry tree seems to bring much luck!
There are several types of cherries that are distinguished in sweetness and tartiness. Among the tastiest cherries, Puglia produces the Ferrovia- a variant famous for being very firm and crunchy and particularly tasty. It owes its name to the first specimen that, it seems, grew right next to the tracks of a railway tollbooth.
Cherries: Properties and Benefits
The properties of cherries are many: these small fruits are rich in vitamins A, C and those of group B. They contain iron, magnesium, and potassium, and possess the powerful antioxidants anthocyanins.
There are many benefits to the body:
- Ideal for Diets
They are low-calorie and therefore are excellent for low-calorie diets because they reduce the concentration of fats in the blood. They also contain a lot of fiber and increase the sense of fullness.
- Reduce Inflammation
It reduces muscle damage and pain, which is why it is advisable to consume cherries both in the pre-workout and post-workout phases.
They possess a high water content.
- Counteract Hypertension
They are high in potassium.
- Promotes Sleep
They contain melatonin.
- Diabetic Friendly
The sugar they contain is fructose and is not harmful to those suffering from this pathology.
Cherries: Nothing is Thrown Away
Nothing is thrown away from cherries, both the stems and the pits can be reused:
- The stems can be used to make decoctions or infusions with diuretic and detoxifying properties simply by putting 10 grams of pits in 250 ml of water.
- The pits can be used in the kitchen to make grappas and liqueurs by soaking them in alcohol or in creative recycling to create the famous thermal pillows useful for relieving muscle pain.
Cherries: How to Choose the Best
In this period, it is easy to find crates full of cherries that are ready to be sold in fruit and vegetable shops … So how do you choose the best ones?
We suggest always selecting the darker ones, but be careful they are not too dark and soft, in that case, they have gone beyond ripening. It should also be checked that there are no cuts or dents. The stems must be green and fresh, which means they weren’t harvested long ago. Keep in mind that once harvested, cherries don't ripen any more, so don't buy faded pink cherries because they will remain unripe.
In the fridge, they should be placed on the least cold shelf, and in a paper bag or basket that allows air to circulate, thus avoiding mold.
Always remember to wash them before consumption and eat within 3 or 4 days of purchase.
Cherry Jam: You Can Make it!
With this recipe, you will get about 1 kg of jam.
- - 2 kg of cherries to be pitted
- - 300 grams of granulated sugar (the amount of sugar can vary according to personal tastes)
- - Juice from 1 lemon
Wash and dry the cherries, then pit them. Pour the sugar over the cherries and mix, then add the lemon juice.
Leave the cherries to macerate overnight at room temperature. If it is very hot, put them in the refrigerator.
The next day, put the cherries in a pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and removing the foam that forms during cooking with a sieve.
Meanwhile, sterilize the jars and caps (in the microwave or by boiling them in a pot full of water).
When the jam is ready, pour the jam into the still-hot jars and screw the cap tightly. Then put them upside down and wrap them in a cloth until they have cooled down - in this way the vacuum will be created.
The jars can be stored for 4 months. Once opened they should be kept in the refrigerator.