Every July 11th, we cherry lovers celebrate National Rainier Cherry Day and the beloved Rainier cherry variety. We’ve shared our love for Rainier cherries on The Stem blog in the past, so this year we changed it up a bit and invited our Kitchen Council to help out with a new Rainier cherry recipe. Sally from Real Mom Nutrition was up to the task and is here to share a Rainier Cherry and Chocolate Baked Oatmeal recipe with you – the perfect healthy and nourishing breakfast to celebrate the sweet and special Rainier cherry on this very special day!
If you haven’t tried Rainier cherries, be warned that they may just become your favorite summer fruit. They’re named after Mount Rainier, the highest peak in Washington, and are a cross between two cherry varieties (the Bing and Van). Unlike dark sweet cherries, Rainier cherries are actually golden in color with a pink-red blush and a flesh that’s almost colorless—so no telltale red-stained hands! This golden cherry variety is great in recipes because they’re very easy to pit and sugary sweet.
Rainier cherries are perfect for eating out of hand or chopped and tossed into salads, but I decided to bake them into one of my favorite warm breakfasts. I’ve upgraded the already healthy morning meal of steel-cut oatmeal by including heart-healthy walnuts and subbing mashed banana for some of the butter usually found in baked oatmeal. Because cherries and chocolate go so well together, I also added a few spoonfuls of mini chips to impart a rich flavor (but feel free to omit them).
Though I used Rainier cherries for this recipe, dark sweet cherries would work beautifully too. When summer is over, try this recipe with thawed frozen cherries (just be sure to use lemon juice if you freeze Rainier cherries to prevent browning). Enjoy and Happy National Rainier Cherry Day!