Cherry harvest season is wrapping up; claim the last of fresh cherries to preserve for year-round use
YAKIMA, Wash., Aug. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Fresh Northwest-grown sweet cherries are still available in produce aisles nationwide, but only for a limited time. As this year's later-than-usual cherry growing season wraps up, consumers are invited to visit their local grocers for fresh sweet cherries to savor as a grab-and-go snack or lunchbox favorite and to preserve the nutrient-packed fruit for year-round enjoyment.
"What began as a late cherry harvest resulted in having Northwest sweet cherries available to enjoy further into the summer than usual," said B.J. Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers. "We hope cherry lovers will take advantage of the late harvest to stock up. By following some simple preservation tips, they can enjoy sweet cherries and their health benefits — ranging from heart disease and diabetes prevention to reducing gout attacks — all the way until next season."
Northwest cherries are a delicious superfruit that are sweet, juicy and dense with nutrients that support better health. From keeping pain at bay with anti-inflammatory properties to helping reduce stress and improve sleep, sweet cherries offer many health benefits. They are a favorite when eaten fresh, and although synonymous with summer, this healthy go-to snack may be available for the back-to-school season this year.
This year's extra-long and extra-late harvest makes cherries a fun and easy lunch box treat sure to please the pickiest of eaters. Sweet and crunchy, fresh cherries are also a low glycemic index fruit, which means that blood sugar levels won't spike. Fresh cherries are easy to portion with no clusters to snip, plus they're loaded with fiber to help round out a meal. It helps to keep cherries near the ice pack, but they'll be fine for a few hours in the lunch bag
Sweet cherries are also easy to preserve in order to enjoy their many health benefits during the off-season:
- Freeze: Rinse cherries under cool water, dry and remove stems. Pitting them is your choice. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and into the freezer overnight. In the morning, tip the cherries into a freezer bag or container for storage in the freezer.
- Dry: Similar to the freezing process, cherries must be washed and dried; they should also be pitted. Cut the cherries and put them on a baking sheet, cut side up. Bake them in an oven or dehydrator at 165°F for 3 hours and then reduce to 135°F for 16 to 24 hours.
- Can: Cherries can also be made into jellies and jams which can last up to a year, when prepared and canned properly. For recipes and canning instructions, visit https://nwcherries.com/recipes.
Northwest-grown cherries are harvested by more than 2,000 growers across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana, who together produce almost all of the cherries found in stores from mid-June through early September. More information about Northwest cherries — including recipes, canning ideas, health tips and more — is available by following the Northwest Cherry Growers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, and at nwcherries.com. More information about the health benefits of sweet cherries is at nwcherries.com/sweethealth.
About Northwest Cherry Growers
Founded in 1947, the Northwest Cherry Growers is a growers' organization funded solely by self-imposed fruit assessments used to increase awareness and consumption of regionally grown stone fruits. The organization is dedicated to the promotion, education, market development and research of cherries from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana orchards.
Contact: Kristin Heilman-Long, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Northwest Cherry Growers