There are two common types of cherries available on the market: sweet cherries and tart cherries. We all know the sweet cherries as those that one can eat raw or add on top of a whipped cream spray to finish a cake or ice cream sundae. Tart cherries, on the other hand, are those that are widely used for cooking purposes, mostly in pies or cakes or even in brownies and cookies. The sweet variety is more popular because they are easy to eat right of the tree, but if you want a more adventurous take on cherries, you can never go wrong with the tart variety.
Tart cherries are distinguishable from sweet cherries primarily because of their inherent sourness. This is also the reason why tart cherries are best used as a culinary ingredient rather than an afternoon snack. While there are some who can eat tart cherries as they would the sweeter version, most prefer not to do it and instead enjoy tart cherries in other ways.
We’ve already mentioned how tart cherries feature heavily in cooking desserts as a primary or complementary ingredient; tart cherries can also be eaten when prepared in other ways.
•Dried cherries. Tart cherries find a very common use as the variety that is often dried, sweetened, and then pre-packaged for your consumption. The easiest way to do this is to dry the cherry under the sun for up to a week, flavor them with sugar or honey – depending on your preference – and put them in a container so you can enjoy them later on as a snackable treat.
•Tart cherry juice. A large majority of tart cherry juice being consumed is pre-juiced in a plant and shipped to your local supermarket. However, it is also possible to prepare your own version of tart cherry juice. To do this, you can take an ordinary juicer – or a blender – and feed the cherries in. Set aside the liquid product in a sterilized and sealed bottle so it can last two months. For the blended variety, make sure to filter the pulp first before storing the tart cherry juice.
•Tart cherry concentrate. The concentrate version is mostly commercially manufactured as one would with tart cherry juice except that the liquid product has to undergo one additional step before it becomes ready. The liquid juice is heated and allowed to simmer in order to thicken the mixture until it turns into a concentrate. To drink, you can dilute it again with water to make a cherry juice or simply drink the concentrate straight up. In both, flavoring with honey is always a viable option.
The allure of the tart cherry and its corresponding by-products stems from the fact that cherries pack a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nutrition experts widely consider cherries as “superfoods” owing to their high content of many beneficial health nutrients. In addition, cherries are highly recommended supplements to any diet because they help fight a variety of diseases from heart ailments to cancer.
Take some time to look into tart cherries and how you can buy and prepare them for your favorite dessert. They make for excellent cooking ingredients or as a snack or beverage pending some easy preparatory steps in the kitchen. If done correctly, you should enjoy all the healthy goodness and delightful culinary treat that tart cherries offer however you choose to eat them.