Sour or sweet, cherries perk up meals and provide powerful antioxidants

My favourite time to visit my grandmother, who lived on a shady street in Sydney, N.S., was when the cherry

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My favourite time to visit my grandmother, who lived on a shady street in Sydney, N.S., was when the cherry tree at the side of my grandparents’ house was loaded down with bright red fruit. After an afternoon spent picking, she would stew a potful of cherries’often with the pits cooked with them for additional flavour’ready for spreading on our toast the following morning.

So I was enthusiastic when invited to a luncheon designed to highlight the versatility of sour (also called tart) cherries with recipes created by chef Jamie Kennedy. I started with a refreshing drink of ‘Sour cherry sparkling aqua fresca’ (cherry juice with sparking water). And, my favourite dish of the day was a duck with a ‘Tart cherry glaze’ (pictured above), a flavourful cherry sauce that would work equally well with chicken, pork or fish (try Best Health’s recipe for ‘Cherry chicken‘).

The event also reminded me of some recent research that looked at how sour cherry juice helped athletes recover after running a marathon. Published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, the research looked at 20 marathon runners who drank either tart cherry juice or a placebo before and after running the London Marathon. The scientists found that the juice aided recovery and reduced muscle damage, inflammation and oxidative stress in the runners. For additional health benefits from cherries, see ‘5 reasons to eat more cherries‘.

Also, for more ideas on how to use up that basket of cherries, see ‘Our best cherry recipes‘. What are your favourite cherry dishes?

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