One of my favorite memories of childhood was eating fresh cherries from the cherry tree in my backyard. I would climb it and pick the ripest fruit, bring it to the kitchen and magically family members would appear out of nowhere and we would all sit around and talk about everything and nothing and everyone had a good time. Having left the family nest a long while ago, when cherry season rolls around, it brings back fond memories. For me cherries are a reminder that summers should be spent outdoors as much as you can with friends and loved ones. Cherry season is a reason to cheer.
What is it about cherries that make people love them? It is an unassuming fruit, unlike grapes they don't grow in a bunch so they don't impress you with their numbers. Yet, like grapes it's very portable; it's so easy to just grab a handful and put it into a bag to bring with you for snacking. I love that when I bite into a ripe cherry, it's tight skin can be punctured and then juices seems to burst forth and flood your taste buds with a tart flavor to be quickly followed by an indescribable cherry sweetness that's not too sweet and refreshes your entire being on a warm day. You spit out the pit and a tinge of red juice marks your hand – you can't hide that you just ate a cherry.
A bowl of cherries is very pretty. Cherry colors can range from a deep, dark red of a cabernet sauvignon to an orange yellow with a red blush. Here in the US, the sweet cherries are grown mainly in the Northwest while the tangy cherries are mainly grown in the Northeast/Midatlantic. They contain a high level of antioxidants which you need in your diet to keep your body healthy to ward off cancer and heart disease. Another health benefit is that they lower the level of uric acid in your system and can alleviate the pain that comes with arthritis, joint pain, and inflammation. Cherries are also a source of melatonin, an antioxidant that we produce in our pineal gland and helps regulate our biorhythm and natural sleep pattern. Eating a handful of cherries is a great way to increase your body's melatonin so that you won't have any trouble sleeping, it would also be a great way to counter jet lag.
Cherries pack a wallop of health benefits but for me it's a reminder that summer's freshness can be packed in one little unassuming fruit.