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Rainier Cherries: Nature's Candy

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They are incredibly beautiful, sweet and juicy and they’re only available mid-June to mid-August. They are: Rainier cherries.

Named after Mount Rainier, the Rainier cherry was developed by Harold Fogle in Washington State back in 1952. Fogle crossed Bing and Van – two red cherry varieties – and ended up with a golden yellow cherry with a red blush on the outside, a golden yellow inside and an amazing sweetness.

Rainiers have a thin, delicate skin which presents a number of challenges in getting them harvested, packed and onto grocery store shelves. They are highly susceptible to bruising and are sensitive to hot weather and strong winds. Because of this, growers use windscreens to protect the fruit and they also put nets over the fruit to keep birds out of the orchard.

Seems like a big job, but it’s hard to beat a Rainier cherry. The sugar, or brix, levels on Rainiers are higher than any dark-sweet cherry variety – ranging from 17 to 23 percent – hence the name “nature’s candy.” Serve these for dessert or in a salad and celebrate the sweet tastes of summer!

Slow-Cooked Cherry Cobbler
Serves 10.

All you need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Hy-Vee 1% milk
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups pitted Rainier cherries
  • 1 (16 oz) bag Hy-Vee frozen cherry berry blend
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla frozen yogurt and fresh Rainier cherries, for serving, if desired

All you do:

  1. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Add milk and canola oil and stir to combine.
  3. Pour dry ingredients into the egg/milk mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Spray a 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray and spread the batter evenly onto the bottom.
  5. In a medium bowl, place 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, oats and salt. Add fresh cherries and frozen berry blend and stir well to make sure all the fruit is coated. Pour the cherry/berry mixture into the slow cooker (over the batter).
  6. Cover the pot and cook on HIGH for 2-1/2 hours, or until the batter is cooked through. Top with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt and more fresh Rainier cherries, if desired.

Nutrition facts per serving: 195 calories, 4g fat, 0g saturated fat, 38g sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 3g protein.

Source: Hy-Vee dietitians

Cherry-Almond Farro Salad
Serves 6 (3/4 cup each).

All you need:

  • 1 cup farro, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Hy-Vee freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup diced ricotta salata or Hy-Vee select feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Hy-Vee slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp finely diced red onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

All you do:

  1. Combine farro, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the farro is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid and fluff with a fork. Spread the farro out on a large rimmed baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, oil, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add cherries, ricotta salata (or feta), almonds, onion, mint and the farro. Gently stir to combine.

Nutrition facts per serving: 277 calories, 13g fat, 3g saturated fat, 11mg cholesterol, 339mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 7g protein.

Source: www.eatingwell.com

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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