Cherry is a fruit that belongs to the plants of genus ‘prunus’. The edible species of cherry belongs to the family of wild cherry also known as ‘sweet cherry’. It is a fleshy fruit with a single seed inside. Cherries are normally pale yellow or dark red but can be purple or almost black, depending on the variety. The texture of cherries is usually plump with sweet or sour taste. Cherries are widely used in making cheery dishes that are well-liked in international cuisine. Some popular cherry recipes are cherry sorbet, cherry pie and cherry pudding.
History of Cherry
Wild cherry is believed to be cultivated in Europe for the first time and since prehistoric times it has been consumed as a fruit in whole Europe. The first cultivated cherry was introduced in Rome through northeastern region of Anatolia in 72 BC. In AD 100, Romans brought the cherries to Britain and since then entire Britain is fond of cherries and cherry dishes.
Culinary Use of Cherry
Cherry has sweet and sour taste that makes it a widely used ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. Cherry recipes may include dried, fresh or even canned cherries. Most of the uses of cherry are found in making sweet dishes such as pies, soufflé, sorbets and puddings. Cherry is a very integral part of confectionery items. Cherry cakes and pastries are world famous. For garnishing purposes, cherry is considered as a first choice of chefs. Due to its small size and bright color, cherry is added to various salads. While making jams, spreads and relishes; cherry plays and important part. Even meats are often made with cherry glaze. Liquors and juices are also some of the popular cherry recipes. And not to forget that cherry is good for eating raw also.
Popular Cherry Recipes
• Cherries jubilee – It’s a very popular cherry dessert that was quiet famous in 1930’s. It is made up of flambéed black cherries. Vanilla ice cream is the base of this dish with cherry topping.
• Kirsch – It is a kind of brandy made up of cherry juice. It’s a quiet popular in making desserts and fondues.
• Cherry Clafouti – It’s one of the most popular cherry recipes of French cuisine. Cherry clafouti is a dessert made up of cream, spiked cherries and cherry brandy.
• Ham with cherry sauce – Glazed ham is topped with cherry sauce.
• Mini Chocolate Cherry Cheesecakes – These are small bite-sized cakes made with cherry pie filling.
Cuisines Commonly Making Cherry Dishes
European cuisine is famous for making cherry dishes. Desserts, liquors and even savory dishes include cherry in some or the other forms. Cherry cheesecakes, cherry fondue and cherry drinks are commonly served in French and German cuisines. Cherry recipes are fondly used in North American as well as in Australian cuisines. Cherry sauce and cherry pies are some of most popular Australian and American cherry dishes. In Asian cuisine also, cherry recipes are quiet popular. Meats glazed with cherry sauce and cherry fruit salads are some of the popular Asian cherry recipes.
Preferred Methods of Making Cherry Dishes
• Flambéed – Flambéed cherries are quiet popular in making dessert dishes in French cuisines.
• Baked – Cherries are fondly added to make confectionery items such as cakes, muffins, pies and cookies.
• Churned – Cherries are churned in blender to make cherry pulp.
• Boiled – Cherry sauce is made while boiling the cherry pulp.
Nutritive Value of Cherry
The raw edible variety of cherries is a good source of potassium, which helps to stabilize the heartbeat and keeps the skin healthy. Cherries are valued in natural medicine for their cleansing properties, the juice of cherries remove toxins and fluids from the kidney. The mild laxative content in cherries helps to relieve constipation and also helps to prevent gout.
Buying and Storing of Cherries
While buying cherries, always select plump and fresh fruit with a green stalk to indicate freshness. It is better to avoid waxy cherries as wax is a false shine and it is harmful for consumption. Wrinkled skin and blemishes are the signs of stale cherries. Cherries can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week. Cherry dishes can also be kept in refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Types of Cherry
There are more than 1000 varieties of cherries. The edible varieties can be divided into following categories:
• Napoleon – It is also known as ‘royal ann’ cherry. It’s a sweet cherry with pinkish red skin and juicy flesh.
• Bing – Bing cherries are red or deep-maroon in color. This is one of sweetest variety of cherry.
• Morello – It is one of the most popular varieties of cherry used to make cherry dishes such as pies, jam and preserves.
• Amarelle – This cherry is yellow in color with juicy flesh.
• Kane in Pennsylvania is the largest producer of black cherry hence known as black cherry capital.
• Long time ago, it was not allowed in Kansas to serve cherry pies with ice cream topping.