Looking to add something specific to your diet, but not sure which fruit is right for you? Or, confused about the health benefits of two of your favorite fruits? Let’s break down the facts, and figure out the differences and nutrition facts to cherries and cranberries, as well as easy ways for anyone to incorporate these foods into their diet.
Cherries often get associated with ice cream sundaes, muffins, pies, and other sweets. There’s a general perception that although they are a fruit, they have too much sugar to be healthy to eat much of. Well according to the USDA, one cup of cherries is only 87-90 calories (most of which do come from the 12g of sugar) and is a good source of both fiber and vitamin C. In fact, one cup of cherries is about 15% of our daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Cherries also provide antioxidants and other immune system boosting properties that can help prevent you from getting sick. In moderation, this fruit can be a highly beneficial addition to your diet.
On the other hand, cranberries contain only 5g of sugar per cup, so if you’re trying to reduce sugar intake, this is the option for you. They are a good source of vitamin A, B, and C, and have been linked to reducing your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. Cranberries also have antioxidant properties and can help avoid getting sick, like cherries, but can also help avoid or treat urinary tract infections, and prevent gum disease.
So, to wrap up nutritional differences, cherries have more vitamin A, potassium, and sugar. Cranberries have more fiber and vitamin E.
Now that we’ve covered the facts, how should you store each fruit? And, most important of all, what kind of recipes can you use them in?
Cherries can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for three to five days and can be kept frozen for a few months. If you decide to keep them at room temperature, eat them the first or second day. Cherries can be used in obvious places like desserts (sundaes, pies, etc.), but if you buy or make dried cherries, they can be perfect for salads, and fresh cherries can be made into jam or chutney. Cherry salsa can also be a fabulous topping to many dishes, including pork tenderloin and lamb chops.
Cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four weeks and can be kept frozen for up to a year, so definitely the longer-lasting option of the two fruits. Of course, fresh cranberries can be made into jam as well, but when you’re looking for savory options, why not try a cranberry glaze on your pork roast? Or, for holidays, try putting dried cranberries in your thanksgiving stuffing for a little burst of sweetness. Easy and tasty everyday uses for cranberries include putting fresh or dried into your cereal, or putting dried cranberries into some delicious homemade trail mix to bring to work as a healthy snack.