Friday, December 30, 2011

Fruit of the Month: Cherries!

Who doesn't love cherries?? (My sister, apparently. Crazy!) I have been eating cherries like they were air this season. I have been buying cherries for $7.99/kg at my fruit shop for a couple of weeks now - they are the reject cherries marked down because no one would buy them at the normal price (15 or so dollars/kg) but I think they are still good, especially used in what I've been using them in!

Cherries are apparently an aid to sufferes of gout (and arthritis) - the flavonoids in the cherry juice help reduce uric acid levels in the blood stream. Doesn't work for everyone, but it does for many! They also taste good. For only 87 calories per 1 cup serve, they make an excellent snack choice for anyone. (Not that I care about the caloric content - I'd eat the whole kilo if I wouldn't feel sick!) That same one cup serving also has 3% of your daily iron needs, 16% of your vitamin C and 2% of your calcium. [Source:]

Now for some uses:
Freeze them for the long cold winter ahead of us. I've found this to come in handy. I've hardly bought any frozen berries lately (because my freezer is full of containers of cherries) and pitting all the cherries is quite relaxing. I just cut them in half, twist it apart and then pry out the pit with a knife. Don't cut yourself. Apparently if you freeze them whole they'll take on an almond flavour from the pit. I just put it all into plastic takeaway containers (or whatever container you want) and freeze. When I need to use them it only takes a second to pry them apart (once you get one the whole lot usually falls apart).
Use them in a tart or pie. (Top right obviously). This was our Christmas dessert table! I contributed the Pear Frangipane Tart from the Post Punk Kitchen. Everyone loved it. I've made it twice now. I'm sure the pear version is lovely, but I don't think pears are in season here right now. But when they are I'm totally making it. Again.
Put them in your breakfast smoothie. I have smoothies for breakfast quite often. Since my old food processor finally carked it (JUST when I was about to start making my christmas tart) and I bought myself a fancy pants new one with a blender attachment, smoothies will be much more regular. Here's one I had this morning:

Cherry-Almond Smoothie
I small frozen banana
1 cup frozen cherries
30g (1/3 cup) almond meal
30g (1/3 cup) rolled oats
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 1/2 cups slmond milk

Blend. Makes about 2 cups.

This smoothie provides:  17g protein, 28% daily calcium, 10% daily iron, 23g fat (only 2 of which are saturated). Not bad huh? I was pretty impressed. It also lasted me for like, 3 hours.
Bake them into a cake or muffins. I made Lemon cherry muffins by Vegan in Bellingham. I chose this recipe while searching 'vegan cherry muffins' on the net because I already had all the ingredients. And they are so good. I made them yesterday afternoon and there's only 3 left. Good thing they are relatively good for you :)
And last, but not least, ice cream! I was gifted with an ice cream maker for Christmas from my mum and HOOFUCKINGRAY! I tested the wodnerful machine out today with a basic vanilla ice cream with what was supposed to be blasamic cherry swirl, but it turned out a little more like cherry ice cream. I used the lazy vanilla ice cream from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise blog, except instead of creamer I used a can and abit of coconut cream. Unfortunately the shop only had light in the cheap brand, but full fat would definately have been better. This ice cream still rocks my world though!
I cooked 2 cups of pitted cherries down with 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. This would be good on top of plain vanilla ice cream too, but I wanted something fancy for my first time use of the Wonder Machine! I'd chop the cherries up into little bits next time because I had to mash them this time and one squirted me in the eye. I thought I'd go blind. I didn't, obviously. So anyway, I let the ice cream maker do it's job for 20 minutes, and then I blobbed in this sauce (and 1/4 cup cacao nibs) and let it swirl around for a few minutes. Oooh it's good. The balsamic adds just a touch of a different flavour as an aftertaste. yum. I've had to stop myself from eating the whole lot. it's not even frozen yet!
Happy cherry eating! I hope they stay cheap for just a little while longer...I want to freeze more for when I hibernate.


Theresa said...

Oh, so many exciting things to comment on in this post!

Cherries! I love them, but they are *really* not local to Townsville, so they are never that great up here. I eat so many of them when we go to NSW for Christmas with Andy's family.

Food processor! I got one, also with blender attachment (and mincer, strangely) from my mum for Christmas. What brand is yours?

Ice cream maker! I seriously love ours. I ordered the book 'Vegan Scoop' but don't really recommend that you do the same. Essentially, we flick through the book looking for inspiration, and we follow the basic ratio of milk, cornflour, sugar, but otherwise find his recipes all a bit boring. If you have a specific one you want to look at, I can email. I also have a PDF of an ice cream e-book I'll locate and email to you...

Theresa said...

Our blender/mixer/mincer is a Bosco - I had a go at making slice yesterday, but need to figure out how to unscrew the blender jug before I try making a smoothie...

(PS - your sausage story made me lol :))