NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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February is for Cherries Too!

February is for Cherries Too!

          Valentines may have a strong connection with February but they are not the only thing special about that wintery month.  February is also National Cherry Month and the Cherry Marketing Institute has bushels of info about cherries.

            - Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that are believed to relieve the pain of arthritis and gout and help fight cancer and heart disease.  They are also especially high in the antioxidant melatonin, which may help prevent or reduce brain deterioration associated with aging.  Tart cherries ranked 14 in the top 50 foods for highest antioxidant content per serving size.

            Explorers have found cherry pits from the Stone Age in caves in Europe. Cherries were brought to America by early settlers in the 1600’s. Cherry trees were part of the gardens of French settlers when they established Detroit.


            - The state of Michigan grows about 75% of the nation’s tart cherries. The two main types of tart cherries are Montmorency and Balaton. Montmorency is the most commonly grown tart cherry in the U.S.


            - It takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie; enough cherries grow on the average cherry tree to make 28 pies.


            - Tart cherries have fewer calories and more beta-carotene than sweet cherries.

            - It takes six to eight pounds of tart cherries to make one pound of dried cherries.  There about 100 cherries in an 8-ounce glass of cherry juice.

            - The tale of a young George Washington and how he could not tell a lie to his father about chopping down a cherry tree is oft repeated but not verified.   Cherries and George Washington though are forever tied together.

            - Although summer is fresh cherry season, canned and frozen cherries, preserved at the peak of goodness are available year round

            Maraschino cherries are sweet cherries that have been tinted red with food coloring, flavored with almond extract, sweetened with sugar and packed in a sugar syrup.


            USDA’s MyPlate educational campaign encourages Americans to ”make half their plate fruits and vegetables”. Colorful fruits provide a number of benefits but only one in five Americans is currently getting their recommended fruit each day. For adults, that means incorporating 2 cups daily. To add colorful and nutritious cherries to your diet, consider-

            Combine dried cherries with an old favorite, apples, in the following light and bright salad.


            Dried Cherry & Apple with Greens


            1 5-ounce bag mixed greens

            2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges

            ½ C. dried tart cherries

            ½ C. chopped walnuts


            Toss all and top with your vingerette style dressing.


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