Continuing our Michigan A-Z series is C for cherries! Cherries are probably one of the things that Michigan is most famous for, after cars and Motown, and definitely what we’re most famous for agriculturally. Michigan grows 75% of the nation’s tart cherries and are available in mid to late July. The National Cherry Festival is held every year in July in the “Cherry Capital of the World” aka Traverse City. The festival offers over 150 events including parades, family and kids events and entertainment.
Cherries were first brought to America with early settlers in the 1600s. French colonists planted cherries along the Saint Lawrence River and on down into the Great Lakes including the Detroit-area. Peter Dougherty, a Presbyterian missionary started modern-day cherry production in Traverse City during the mid-1800s.
I hate to admit this, but I didn’t have any cherry recipes to recommend. So I took a look through my RSS reader and here are several that I’d like to try:
- Cherry Hand Pies from First Look, Then Cook
- Roasted Cherry Brownies from Pink Parsley
- Brandied Cocktail Cherries from Serious Eats (skip the maraschino liqueur, it’s gross!)
- Cherry Crumb Muffins from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
- Dried Cherry Scones with Lemon-Mascarpone Glaze from Sugar Plum
Check out all the cherry goodness:
- Delicious cherry edibles from Cherry Republic (Sarah’s favorite!) and American Spoon.
- U-Pick cherry information from Eat Like No One Else
- State by Food Tote Bag from Mélangerie Inc. on Etsy
- Natural Cherry Soap from Twig Natural Soap Company on Etsy
- Cherry Baby Hat from Up North Knits and Gifts on Etsy
Cherries have recently been in the news for their purported health benefits as they are high in antioxidants. According to ChooseCherries.com, “a recent study from the University of Michigan reveals new evidence linking cherries to heart health benefits. The study found that a cherry-enriched diet lowered total weight, body fat (especially the important “belly” fat), inflammation and cholesterol-all risk factors associated with heart disease. “
Whether you eat them for the health benefits or enjoy them as a sweet snack, cherries are definitely Pure Michigan. I know that it’s kind of punny, but I’ve always wanted to say that!