Fruit of the Week – Cherry

May 9, 2011 at 1:51 PM | Posted in Food, fruits | Leave a comment

Cherry

The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium.

The name ‘cherry’, often as the compound term ‘cherry tree’, may also be applied to many other members of the genus Prunus, or to all members of the genus as a collective term. The fruits of many of these are not cherries, and have other common names, including plum, apricot, peach, and others. The name ‘cherry’ is also frequently used in reference to cherry blossom.

True cherry fruits are borne by members of the subgenus Cerasus, which is distinguished by having the flowers in small corymbs of several together (not singly, nor in racemes), and by having a smooth fruit with only a weak groove or none along one side. The subgenus is native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with two species in America, three in Europe, and the remainder in Asian continent

The majority of eating cherries are derived from either Prunus avium, the wild cherry (sometimes called the sweet cherry), or from Prunus cerasus, the sour cherry.
Cherries have a very short growing season and can grow in most temperate latitudes. The peak season for cherries is in the summer. In Australia, they are usually at their peak around Christmas time, in southern Europe in June, in North America in June, in south British Columbia (Canada) in July to mid August, and in the UK in mid July. In many parts of North America, they are among the first tree fruits to ripen.
The cultivated forms are of the species wild cherry (P. avium) to which most cherry cultivars belong, and the sour cherry (P. cerasus), which is used mainly for cooking. Both species originate in Europe and western Asia; they do not cross-pollinate. Some other species, although having edible fruit, are not grown extensively for consumption, except in northern regions where the two main species will not grow. Irrigation, spraying, labor and their propensity to damage from rain and hail make cherries relatively expensive. Nonetheless, there is high demand for the fruit.

The Cherry Fruit Facts:

* The Cherry fruit is known to grow in many areas of the United States. It is noticed that sweet cherries prove to be difficult to grow. Sour cherries are grown mainly in the Eastern side.
* Cherries are very easily perishable and they rarely ripen after harvest. Therefore, you need to refrigerate them soon after their purchase. These can remain fresh in the fridge for at least 2 days.
* The German word Kirsch-the cherry liqueur comes from the word karshu. This is the name given to the cherries that were first cultivated in Mesopotamia in 8 BC.
* Cherries are very versatile fruits and can be a part of any meal or dessert. From breakfast to soups and salads, these find their way into any food item easily! Being delicious, these can be frozen and devoured whenever you wish!
* Studies have shown the cherry fruit to have plenty of health benefits. These are known to provide pain relief for people who suffer from arthritis. It is said that eating 20 tart cherries in a day can prove to fight inflammation effectively.
* Red cherries are also very high in melatonin. These are known to destroy the toxins that cause diseases. The cherry fruit is also high in antioxidants that help to fight cancer and heart disease.
* The cherry fruits are low in cholesterol, fat and sodium. They are also a very good source of fiber and Vitamin C.
* Since the cherry fruit bruises easily, you need to handle them with care. When buying cherries, look for a bright color and those with a supple exterior. Cherries, which are plump and firm, are very good to taste. If you are looking for good quality cherries, try to go in for cherries with their green stems attached.
* Tart cherries and tart cherry juice are known to reduce the urate levels in the body. These are also known to reduce muscle pain and back pain. The benefits of tart cherries are also found even if they are frozen, in the form of juice or canned. Sweet cherries as well as tart cherries have very high levels of anthocyanins. This is the red pigment in the cherries, which helps to reduce the inflammation.
* Sweet as well as sour cherries can be used for jams. Sour cherries are used more often as an ingredient in pies and are suitable for making soufflés, cooked fruit compotes etc.
* Cherries are also known to have a very short fruiting season. It is during the Christmas time, one sees these plants at their peak, especially in Australia. Areas of Northern America see these cherries as the first ones to ripen amongst other trees; therefore the term ‘in cherry condition’ has been derived which means something new.
* Michigan has around 35,000 acres of tart cherry trees. This place grows almost 75% of the tart cherries, which are produced in the United States. The Traverse City is therefore called the Cherry Capital of the World. The sweet cherries are grown in large numbers in Washington.
* The cherry fruit extract contains antioxidant flavanoids and are used in many tablets and capsules. These capsules are used to support the pH levels of the body.

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