February is National Cherry Month. Even though cherries are harvested in the summer months, George Washington will forever be linked with the cutting of the cherry tree, and since his birthday is in February this is when we honor the cherry in all its forms. One of our favorite cherries is the Caribbean cherry, also known as the Acerola Cherry.
Acerola (pronounced ah-sir-oh-la) is a small, cherry like fruit that grows on large, densely branched shrubs throughout the tropics of South and Central America and the Caribbean. Acerola originated from Yucatan, Mexico and today can be found in many topical-like environments around the world, including Puerto Rico. The Acerola cherry is widely consumed raw, in juices, or as a jam or jelly. Acerola is commonly known as “The Barbados Cherry” and “The West Indian Cherry” because it is bright red like a cherry and is best grown in tropical environments. After three years, Acerola trees can produce significant numbers of these bright red cherry-like fruits. It has a taste that ranges from tart to semi-sweet depending on which region it is grown in.
Acerola cherry is considered a superfood based on its high vitamin C content, which is 65 times more concentrated than any other species of orange. One tiny cherry carries 300% of your required daily value of Vitamin C! In fact, acerola is used to beef up the Vitamin C content in Apple Juice. Amazing!
Acerola is recognized for having an ideal source of nutrients necessary for immune support and has many health benefits from reducing cancer risks to improving cardiovascular health. Acerola cherry is used in many Caribbean Islands as a natural remedy for quickly reducing fever. Acerola, like many other species of cherry, reduces inflammation after a long workout and helps calm the body with natural melatonin. It can be used as a natural aid for anemia, diabetes, high cholesterol, liver problems, fungal infections, rheumatism and tuberculosis.
The West Indian Cherry is a delightful food for health food freaks. They are low in calories (87 calories per cup) and help maintain sugar balance in the body. The initial taste of the Acerola cherry can be sour, but you can follow a few tips to make the taste more pleasant.
While there are many ways to consume Acerola cherries, the easiest way all year long is as a jam or jelly. You can spread it on toast with butter, eat it with a banana or use it as a substitute for mayo on your turkey sandwich.
Fast and Easy Recipes using, Acerola Jam:
- Take Ritz crackers or toasted Original Ritz chips and spread each one with plain cream cheese. Then add a spread of Mermelada Chali Acerola Jam on top. Place in the refrigerator for 8-10 minutes or until it cools to your liking. Enjoy!
- Place fresh carved turkey breast and fresh sliced mozzarella cheese on 2 slices of whole grain bread. Spread the Mermelada Chali Acerola Jam on the bread. Add toppings of your choice; lettuce, tomato, olives, etc. Then close the sandwich, slice in half and Enjoy!
- Slice fresh French bread into 1 inch slices. Spread fresh brie cheese and Mermelada Chali Acerola Jam on top. Add crushed nuts of your choice; almonds, pecans or walnuts work great. Enjoy!
To buy Mermelada Chali Acerola Jam and create your own delicious recipes, click here.
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