3 Cheers for Cherries

Suzanne Ledbetter | Fine Foodie Philanthropist

San Joaquin County is home to some of the finest cherry producers in the world and we live right here where all the magic happens. The colorful fruit is in season now, and one simple bite of these sweet morsels will have you hooked for life. Lucky for us, cherries ripen just in time for all of our sunny spring activities.

Yes, cherries are the perfect addition to traditional baked goods like coffee cakes, morning muffins, and dark chocolate brownies. Did you know they can also add depth to a hearty meal of pork tenderloin or sweet BBQ ribs? Cherries even play a crucial role in the crafting of two American classics: cherry pie and a Manhattan cocktail! Without even realizing it, cherries have become ubiquitous, interwoven into the very fabric of American cuisine.

The 411 on Nutrition

  1. Antioxidants

Studies have shown that the antioxidants found in cherries may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

  1. Low Glycemic

Cherries score well with diabetics and those watching their intake of sugar. With a glycemic index of 22, the low level of sugar in cherries is released slowly and evenly.

  1. Potassium Powerhouse

Watch out banana lovers, there’s a new potassium powerhouse at the market. Cherries are an excellent source of potassium, which plays a role in controlling blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke.

  1. Low Calories

With just 21 calories in a single serving, make cherries a part of your diet.  

Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Thyme Pan Sauce

Ingredients

1 tsp. coriander

2 pork tenderloins, about two pounds total

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot, sliced thin

10 sprigs thyme

4 sprigs rosemary

1 ½ c. red wine

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. sugar

1 10 oz. package frozen sweet cherries, thawed, halved

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine coriander, kosher salt, and pepper in a bowl. Rub the pork loin with seasoning. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork loins to the pan and sear for two minutes on each side until meat is browned. Place rosemary sprigs and five thyme sprigs into the bottom of a glass baking dish. Transfer the pork to a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Meanwhile, cook shallot and thyme in the skillet with drippings from the pork for about two minutes. Add wine, vinegar, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the cherries and ¾ tsp. salt and cook for one minute. Remove from heat, add butter, and swirl skillet to combine. Remove pork from the oven, slice, and serve with cherry sauce.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ c. flour

1 c. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 tsp. cardamom

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 egg beaten

½ c. unsalted butter, melted

¼ c. milk

1 ¾ c. rolled oats

1 c. dark chocolate chips

1 c. fresh cherries, pitted, diced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or silt pats. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, cardamom, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the beaten egg, melted butter, milk, and rolled oats. Mix in chocolate chips and fold in cherries. Be careful not to overwork. Arrange by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake about 10-12 minutes.

Cherry Cobbler

Ingredients

1 c. flour

2 c. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

¾ c. milk

¼ lb. butter, melted in dish

4 c. cherries, pitted

Directions

Melt the butter in a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large bowl, combine four cups of cherries with one cup of sugar and let macerate. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, one cup of sugar, baking powder, and milk. Pour milk mixture over the butter. Then, add cherries to the top and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Local Angle: Homestead Favorites Cherry Pepper Jelly

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