Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

July 4, 2013

How to celebrate cherries

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Chock full of antioxidants, cherries are a good source of fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and potassium. More and more they have been hailed as an anti-inflammatory.

If you find yourself with a few quarts of cherries this summer and are looking for inspiration, choose from a wide array of cherry cookbooks in local libraries and bookstores. Many of them also contain tips and techniques.

One of the region’s best known is the perennial favorite, “Cherry Home Companion,” by Patty LaNoue Stearns. Released more than a decade ago, the book still inspires cooks with 130 cherry recipes that LaNoue Stearns gleaned from chefs and other sources.

“It’s the complete book of cooking with cherries,” LaNoue Stearns said. “Every meal includes cherries and is very well tested.”

The National Cherry Festival also sells a cookbook with more than 200 pages of recipes collected from the festival’s annual Taste of Cherries event. “Cherry Creations: The Ultimate Cherry Cookbook” includes recipes from chefs and farm-based cooks and is available online at www.cherryfestival.org.

If you’d rather stay out of the kitchen but want to sample some cherry fare, consider a visit to the Cherries Grand Buffet at noon on Friday. The National Cherry Festival event will highlight simple to gourmet ways to incorporate cherries into everyday dishes. The ‘Grand Buffet’ will feature cherry inspired dishes, an array of sweet treats, and cherry lemonade. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under.

You’ll also find a variety of cherries goodies at the ninth annual “Very Cherry Smorgasbord” hosted by the Frankfort United Methodist Women, July 18.

All the entree, salad and dessert dishes incorporate cherries in some form. The menu includes Cherry Barbeque Meatballs, Cherry Chicken Casserole, Ham with Cherry Sauce and Beef Burgundy. Cherry desserts such as pie, brownies and pound cake with cherry sauce, round out the meal.

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