Sour cherries are originally from southeastern Europe. The most commonly known are the Montmorency and Balaton varieties, which are primarily grown in Utah, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington, Michigan, Oregon, and New York. Once sour cherries have been harvested they don't stay fresh very long, which is why it can be hard to find them in the grocery store. Sour cherries should mostly be harvested mid June and early July. Sour cherries are also called pie cherries because they are often used to make pie. They can also be used to make jams and tarts.
There have been over 50 different studies done on sour cherries that strongly support the anti-inflammatory qualities of Montmorency tart cherries, it also has benefits for muscle recovery and pain relief from conditions like arthritis. it has also been discovered that Montmorency tart cherries contain Melatonin, which is a naturally occurring substance that helps regulate sleep patterns. They help support heart health, and even fight cancer. Two compounds that help fight cancer are quercetin and ellagic acid, both shown to inhibit the growth of tumors and kill cancer cells without damaging healthy ones. Sour cherries have what is called anthocyanin it has more than any other fruit, it not only gives sour cherries their vibrant pigment, but it is also what reduces inflammation, eases arthritis pain, and may help lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Recipe: Sour Cherry Lemon Muffins
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup melted butter
1¼ cup sour cream
¾ cup milk
4 tsp lemon zest
½ cup lemon juice
2 cup pitted sour cherries, fresh, frozen (no need to thaw) or jarred (drained well)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners, or grease them with butter.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, sour cream, milk, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Fold in cherries.
4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly pressed.