Cherries are one of my favorite foods. I love this time of year when they are in season. Rainier cherries are yellow with a hint of red color and are only available mid-June to mid-August.
Named after Mount Rainier, the Rainier cherry was developed by Harold Fogle in Washington State back in 1952. Fogle crossed Bing and Van two red cherry varieties and ended up with a golden yellow cherry with a red blush on the outside, a golden yellow inside and an amazing sweetness.
Rainiers have a thin, delicate skin which presents a number of challenges in getting them harvested, packed and onto grocery store shelves. They are highly susceptible to bruising and are sensitive to hot weather and strong winds. Because of this, growers use windscreens to protect the fruit and they also put nets over the fruit to keep birds out of the orchard.
Seems like a big job, but it's hard to beat a Rainier cherry. The sugar, or brix, levels on Rainiers are higher than any dark-sweet cherry variety ranging from 17 to 23 percent hence the name "nature's candy."
My toddler love cherries too. I like to give him Rainier cherries because I can cut them and serve as a finger food, without having to worry about getting red fingerprints everywhere. Serve these for dessert or in a salad and celebrate the sweet tastes of summer!
Slow-Cooked Cherry Cobbler
All you need:
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
cup 1% milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups pitted Rainier cherries
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen Cherry Berry Blend
1/8 teaspoon salt
Vanilla frozen yogurt and fresh Rainier cherries, for serving, if desired
All you do:
1. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Add milk and canola oil and stir to combine.
3. Pour dry ingredients into the egg/milk mixture and stir to combine.
4. Spray a 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray and spread the batter evenly onto the bottom.
5. In a medium bowl, place cup sugar, cup flour, oats and salt. Add fresh cherries and frozen berry blend and stir well to make sure all the fruit is coated.
6. Pour the cherry/berry mixture into the slow cooker (over the batter).
7. Cover the pot and cook on HIGH for 2-1/2 hours, or until the batter is cooked through. Top with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt and more fresh Rainier cherries, if desired.
Nutrition facts per serving (without toppings): Calories 195, Total fat 4g, Saturated fat 0g, Sodium 38mg, Carbohydrate 38g, Fiber 2g, Protein 3g
Source: Hy-Vee dietitians
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.