Tag Archives: judi sowl

Tart Cherries: Healthy, Local and Delicious

“Healthy food doesn’t taste good.” Is that what you think? As a registered dietitian at Ministry Door County Medical Center, I’d like to help change your mind. And Door County tart cherries might help!

Tart cherries are the smallest members of the stone fruit family. This “family” includes plums, apricots, nectarines, and peaches. Here in Door County, we grow two of the most popular varieties of tart cherries: Montmorency and Balaton. Cherries are a good source of vitamin A. They also contain anthocyanins, a compound found to block two enzymes which play a role in inflammation. Since inflammation has been linked to many chronic diseases, consuming cherries may play a role in prevention and treatment.

What we know for sure is that cherries are DELICIOUS. You can use them in all parts of a meal from appetizer to beverage, salad to bread, main dish to dessert. Dried, frozen or fresh, add cherries to your favorite recipes for an added boost of flavor and possible health benefits. The Wisconsin Cherry Growers website has many recipes using cherries in a variety of ways. This recipe combines two Door County favorites: Salmon and Tart Cherries. The salsa would also be great over poultry or pork.


Caramelized Salmon with Cherry Salsa   

Makes 4 servings

1-1/2 pounds fresh for frozen salmon fillet with skin

3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. grated orange peel

½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper

1 ripe mango or papaya (seeded, peeled, and chopped)

1 cup frozen tart cherries, thawed, drained and halved

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, basil, or cilantro

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper


Thaw fish, if frozen. Stir together brown sugar, orange peel and pepper. Place fish, skin side down, in a shallow pan. Rub sugar mixture over fish. Cover and refrigerate 2-8 hours.

Remove fish from pan, draining off any juices. Place salmon, skin-side down, on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4-6 inches from medium-hot coals. Grill for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Do not turn fish.

Meanwhile, toss together mango or papaya, cherries, herb, vinegar and red pepper. Spoon fruit salsa over warm fish. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories 373, Carbohydrate 16 grams, Protein 34 grams, Fat 19 grams, Fiber 1 gram, Sodium 100 mg

-Judi Sowl, RD

Keep Your Heart Healthy, Deliciously

February is American Heart Month, a chance for me to remind you that keeping your heart healthy starts with what you eat. Did you know there are two types of fiber in foods, soluble and insoluble? As a dietitian here at Ministry, I like to remind my patients to do their hearts a favor and increase the amount of soluble fiber they eat…it’s been found to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Here are some surprisingly simple ways to get more soluble fiber in your diet:

  • Sprinkle oat bran or rice bran on cereal
  • Eat oatmeal for breakfast
  • Choose more vegetables, such as brussel sprouts, acorn squash, broccoli, okra and eggplant
  • Use garbanzo beans, black beans or other beans in soups, casseroles and mexican dishes
  • Eat whole grain breads, cereals and pasta
  • Have hummus (bean dip) and veggies for a snack

Here’s one of my favorite soup recipes using heart-healthy barley, courtesy of Quaker Oats:

Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup


      • 1/2 pound Lean Ground Beef
      • 1/2 cup chopped onion
      • 1 clove Garlic, minced
      • 7 cups Water
      • 1/2 cup Medium Quaker® Barley*
      • 1/2 cup sliced celery
      • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
      • 1/2 teaspoon basil
      • 1 bay leaf
      • 1 9-oz bag of frozen vegetables



In 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, brown ground beef. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender; drain. Add remaining ingredients except frozen vegetables. Cover, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 50-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add frozen vegetables; cook about 10 or until vegetables are tender. Add additional water if soup becomes too thick upon standing.

Questions about a heart-healthy diet, or how to include more soluble fiber in your meals and snacks? Ask your Health Care provider for a referral to a Registered Dietitian.

-Judi Sowl, R.D., C.D., Clinical Dietitian