As the evenings get lighter, late night rides can result in sleepless nights – but experts tell us that cherries are one of the foods that can aid shut-eye. Tart cherry juice such as the ruby red elixir from Montmorency is the most effective and can apparently help improve the quality and duration of sleep, reducing the severity of post-ride insomnia.
Eating healthily and exercising regularly are two components of fitness – but quality sleep enables the latter which can be severely impacted if you’re not getting enough hours in the sack. Lack of sleep can result in low energy and therefore overeating, too.
Though some turn to medicinal sleeping aids to help them sleep, there are natural alternatives. It’s melatonin that’s responsible for the regulation of the body’s internal clock and sleep-wake cycle; and as one of the few natural sources of melatonin researchers believe it is the combination of melatonin and the anthocyanins in Montmorency tart cherries that might help you sleep better at night.
One study found that drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia. Adults who drank two servings of Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate each day for seven days slept about 40 minutes longer on average and had up to a 6 percent increase in sleep efficiency, compared to the participants who drank another beverage.
Incorporating cherry juice into your diet isn’t always easy, but we’ve got a great recipe to help you out. Of course, we wouldn't suggest scoffing a batch of scones before bed, but one with a nice cup of tea after dinner would go down very nicely...
Montmorency cherry scones
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 13 minutes
Makes approximately 16 scones – depending on how you cut them of course! We opted for 10 larger (but yummy) scones.
- 3/4 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries, finely chopped
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1/3 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pop the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl then cut the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If you don’t have a pastry blender, we found rubbing the butter into the mixture using your finger-tips worked just fine. Stir in dried Montmorency tart cherries.
In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and two of the eggs then add liquid mixture to dry mixture, stirring just until moist (the dough will be soft and sticky). Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
Flour the work surface then turn out the dough and knead for two to three times. The dough should be nice and soft.
Divide the dough in half then roll each piece of dough into a 5-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick, and using a sharp knife, cut each round into 8 pie-shaped wedges.
Carefully transfer wedges onto a cookie sheet, arranging them so that they are not touching one another. Ideally they should be at least 1 1/2-inches apart.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush a very light coat of egg wash onto the top of each scone.
Sprinkle the tops of the scones with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, and bake for about 13 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch.
Best served warm, these are ideal for afternoon tea. However you can also try wrapping them up and popping one into your jersey pocket for a mid-ride snack – we bet you will be the envy of all of your club mates. Perfect and quick to grab following a nice ride; the chances are the long cycle will ensure you sleep better but where’s the harm in adding a scrumptious cherry scone just to make sure.
After more cherry recipes? Here we go...