Foods We Love: Cherries

Cherries, those sweet, pretty little red morsels, tend to add joy to any event. People find them fun to eat, and their image is frequently used as a decorative pattern on everything from kitchen towels to swimwear. The fruit was brought to the United States in the 1600s, after winning over taste buds in Rome, Greece, and China. Modern-day production was started in 1852 by a Presbyterian missionary named Pete Dougherty, who planted some cherry trees on Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan. Because Lake Michigan cools orchards in hot weather and tempers cold winds in chillier times, the trees flourished. Soon, nearby residents were planting their own cherry trees. Michigan and the Northwest still reign as the top producers of cherries today, with Michigan providing about 75 percent of the United States' tart cherry crop.


Nutritionally, cherries are known as a superfood. They are considered one of the top 20 antioxidant-rich foods, and they might even be helpful in regulating sleep due to their concentration of melatonin. Cherries are believed to help fight against cancers, pre-diabetes, and neurological diseases, and the anthocyanins in them serve as anti-inflammatory agents.


To celebrate the great taste of cherries, here is a recipe for Roasted Tofurkey with Cherry and Onion Sauce, where the tartness of the cherry and the bitterness of the onion provide a sweet-and-savory contrast. This comes to us courtesy of Turtle Island Foods. Make sure to scoop up any spills with Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes, which kill 99.99% of household germs botanically.

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, sliced very thin
• 1 cup dried sour cherries
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 4 tablespoons apple cider
• 1 Tofurky roast

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, cherries, brown sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in mustard and apple cider, and simmer for two more minutes.
Place Tofurky roast on sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and spread with the onion mixture. Wrap roast snugly with the foil. Place in roasting pan, and place on center rack of oven.
Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover roast for last 10 minutes of baking. Slice roast, and serve with some of the pan juices spooned over it.


photo: jayneandd