We've been bitten by the cherry bug, and over the next couple of weeks, we're going to be bringing you a selection of recipes made using Montmorency tart cherries. We'd love to see your creations, so share them with us on Twitter and Facebook, and if you've got your own cherry recipes, let us know in the comments.

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Why cherries?

Montmorency tart cherries are said to promote sleep, reduce the risk of heart disease and even reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pain. Apparently, it’s the unique package of antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients and anthocyanins — the pigments that give cherries their bright red colour - that make these scrumptious red fruits the super food they are.

Recent studies showed that cyclists and marathon runners who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice before and after their race experienced less inflammation and oxidative stress and a much faster recovery period than those who drank an alternative. When it comes to improving the recovery period following intense exercise, the findings have been unanimous, both in terms of reducing pain and improving the overall recovery period. In one study, drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice showed an average strength loss over four days of 4% in comparison to the 22% that was seen in those drinking an alternative. In short, we need some of this in our lives!! And based on the findings of these studies, what we need is a 10oz glass of Montmorency tart cherry juice before exercise and an additional glass within 30 mins following is what is recommended, but this seems like a lot to think about right?

Well, it doesn’t have to be. TWC have teamed up with cherry lovers, the CMI, to bring you six quick and easy ways to incorporate cherries into your daily diet … and even we were surprised – it’s so much easier than you think!

Cherry Recharge Smoothie

cherry smoothie

So quick and easy to prepare, this is the perfect way to add cherries to your daily diet. Leave it in the fridge for a nice refreshing drink to come home to after a good Sunday ride, or pop it in your gym bag with the thought of avoiding those sugary nasties from the vending machine on your way out! You can even make a few extra portions and freeze them in freezer-safe (plastic) glasses for up to 3 months. Allow to soften at room temperature before serving.

Summary

Total Time: 10 minutes

Prep: 5 minutes

Create: 5 minutes

Portions: 2 full servings, 4 half servings

Ingredients

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  • 2 cups frozen Montmorency tart cherries
  • 2 medium/large ripe bananas (previously frozen in chunks)
  • 1 cup coconut water (water may be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Directions

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Simply combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy, then serve immediately.

That was easy, wasn't it?

Feel free to mix it up a little, you might want to add yogurt or your favourite recovery powder for a bit of additional protein. Alternatively you might want to mix in a few berries for a slightly different take on the recipe above – we found raspberries and strawberries worked particularly well!

Recipe courtesy of Averie Sunshine