After almost a year I am posting a photoblog, the last one was for the juicy lychees. This time again it is a decadent and slightly tart stone fruit – the ever-tempting red cherries. It is commonly grown in northern regions of India and summer fruit. Though it is a local product of India, it is not commonly available in other parts of the country and it is quite expensive wherever it is available. I finally found these online on Big Basket in Pune and was very happy to make a Black Forest Cake using them. The cake turned out delicious and moist and these cherries made a fine subject to shoot.
How it looks: The cherry fruit is a stone fruit like peaches, plums, and others. It comes in a variety of colors from dark red-yellow to black with shades of black over it. The shades of the fruit are varied so are its taste from sweet to very sour to tart. There are many varieties of cherry trees that are visibly identified from their leaves in a variety of their leaves colors
What is the best season: Cherries grow best in regions with lower temperatures. Cherries are freshly harvested from May to August end. By the end of May, the new fruit arrives in the market and by July the plum and sweet varieties are available.
How to choose: Like most stone fruits the thumb rule to choose cherries is also the same. One needs to look for brighter fruit skin with no or very less blemishes. These crimson orbs should feel plump and firm but not hard. The hard surface cherries usually taste tart. The stem of the cherry should be green and firm, indicating its freshness.
Why to eat: The small fruit comes with a host of health benefits in both sweet and tart varieties. The fruit is richly loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. The anti-inflammatory properties help in stress recovery of the muscles from a workout, injury, or surgery. It may promote good sleep for someone struggling for a good sleep because of the melatonin present in it. Cherries reduce oxidative stress which aids in the recovery of people suffering from gout or arthritis.
Where to find: Worldwide Cherries are grown in regions with chilly weather. The highest production comes from Turkey, USA, and Iran as the fruit grows in lower-temperature regions and is harvested from May to August end. In India cherries are grown in the Himalayan region states where weather conditions are in favor.
When to eat: One of the major health benefits of cherries is the melatonin present in them. This chemical naturally present in cherries is known to induce or regulate sleep. Hence bedtime is the best time to reap the maximum benefits of the fruit a few hours before sleep.
How to eat: A cherry makes for a great snack – 1 cup of fresh cherries is ideal to satiate mid-meal hunger pangs. You can use them for making cherry jam, bake them in brownies, pies, tarts, crumbles, or cookies, or use them in trifles or desserts, or ice creams. Sour or tart cherries are more suited for baking.
You can pair cherries with other stone fruits like apricot, peach, or nectarine. They go very well with citrus fruits, such as lemon, lime, or orange. They also bring out the flavor when combined with chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon aromas.
Compliment cherries with Pinot Noir or Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Vermouth, Vodka, etc.
What Ayurveda says: As per Ayurveda cherries are cooling in nature and help in cleansing the body. They stimulate looser stools and more frequent urination to flush out the toxins.
Lifespan: Sweet cherries are usually highly perishable. They have a shelf life of 7–14 days in cold storage. Once they start spoiling they show a loss of firmness, color, and flavor. The stem is characterized by discoloration, fruit is desiccated and mold grows.
Amazing Facts: There are more than 100 varieties of sweet cherry fruit. Cherry blossoms or cherry flowers are a sight to behold. There is a tradition and festival dedicated to the cherry flowering season in Japan.