Harvest of the Month

Harvest of the Month

Amanda Goldman, MS, RD, LD, FAND
Quality and Wellness Director, CHI Food and Nutrition Services
Director of Diabetes and Nutrition Care, CHI Saint Joseph Health


This bright red fruit is a perfect refreshing snack for the warm summer months.  They are delicious and have many different health benefits. These little fruits also rank as one of the most health-protective foods. While being low in calories, they are packed with antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory compounds. They are also rich in many different vitamins, including Vitamin C. We are pleased to share that our “Harvest of the Month” is the tasty cherry. Please be sure to sample one of the yummy menu items featuring cherries in our CHI cafes during the month of July.

How to Buy, Store and Prepare

How to Buy and Store: Depending upon the type of cherry that you are choosing, you can go by color when selecting the best choice.  For sweet red cherries, choose the ones that are darker in color with a bright green stem.  These cherries should also be firm to the touch.  When storing cherries at home, keep them cool in the refrigerator to ensure a longer shelf-life.  It is also important to rinse them in cold water before eating.  If you want to save them for later, you can opt to freeze them which can make a great frozen summer snack!

Making them Kid-Friendly: Cherries are a fun, great treat for children.  Here are some cool ways to make eating cherries something the whole family likes to do.  They are a delicious addition to fruit & yogurt parfaits as a healthy breakfast option.  Cherries are also nice to add to summer salads and fresh fruit cups.  They can be frozen and provide a quick, easy snack for kids on-the-go in the summer time.  They are also a great addition to any fruit smoothie or milkshake that both children and adults will love.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

Cherries have a number of health benefits to offer.  Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they help protect against many different diseases including arthritis and gout.  In addition, they are known to aid in work-out recovery.  Also, cherries have a lower glycemic index and are a nice snack that can assist with managing blood sugar levels, especially when combined with a good protein source.  Not only do cherries have all these benefits, but they are also among the few foods that contain melatonin which is a sleep aid and can help regulate sleep cycles.

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 77 Saturated Fat: 0g
Total Fat: 0g Monounsaturated Fat: 0g
Total Carbohydrate: 19g Vitamin A: 39 %
Fiber: 2.5g Vitamin C: 25%
Protein: 2g Potassium: 7%


Fun Facts

Check out these fun facts about cherries provided by Claudia Burnett, MS, RD, LD, CDE, Diabetes Educator with CHI Saint Joseph Health in Lexington, KY:

  • Cherries are drupes, or stone fruits, and are related to plums, peaches & nectarines
  • It is believed that the sweet cherry originated in the area between the Black and Caspian Sea in Asia Minor around 70 BC; The Romans introduced them to Britain in the first century AD
  • There are more than 1,000 varieties of cherries in the United States, but fewer than 10 are produced commercially
  • There is an average of about 44 cherries in one pound

*Special thanks to Hannah Hickey for assisting with writing this month’s article.