Cherries are in peak season, which means they're plentiful, cheap, and ripe for the picking. 

Hyvee nutritionist Melissa Jaeger visited KARE 11 Saturday to whip up some great summer recipes using cherries, and share those recipes. 

Here are some reasons she loves them. 

  • Cherries are a natural source of melatonin and in studies have been shown to increase melatonin levels in the body helping to provide more restful and longer sleep. 
  • Cherries are also an excellent source of vitamin C which can enhance iron absorption and help our immune system perform at its best. 
  • Cherries are a natural anti-inflammatory and perfect to incorporate into your diet - especially during their peak freshness. 

And now... for the recipes. 

Cherry Almond Muffins

What you need:

  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup avocado, olive or coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup almond meal or flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of chopped cherries, divided
  • 2 tbsp almonds, sliced (optional)

All you do:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line muffin tin with liners. In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract, baking powder + soda, cinnamon and salt; whisk well.
  • Add coconut flakes, almond meal and whole wheat flour; stir gently just enough to combine. Add 1/2 cup cherries and give a few stirs.
  • Using large scoop, divide batter between 12 openings and sprinkle remaining ½ cup cherries on top. Gently press cherries into the batter and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  • Bake for 22 - 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let almond muffins cool in the tin for 10 minutes.

Black Forest Overnight Oats

Yield: 1 servings

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs or chocolate chips

All you do:

  • In a large bowl, stir together Old Fashioned Oats, milk, chia seeds, coconut flakes, maple syrup, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
  • Cover and refrigerate 3 hours to overnight.
  • Top evenly with cherries, almonds, and cacao nibs and serve.

Sweet Cherry Salsa

All you need:

  • 3 cups sweet cherries, stemmed, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ medium red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Hy-Vee Select extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

All you do:

  • Combine all ingredients and stir to combine. To serve chilled, store in refrigerator for 3 hours or serve immediately at room temperature.