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.

salmon

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

Instructions:

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