There are three main types of cherries: sweet cherries, sour cherries and hybrids. While cherries grow well in areas with cold winters and a dry spring and summer, they don’t grow well in the north. Spring cherry blossoms are hugely popular in gardens. Cherry trees can grow beyond 12 metres tall and large trees can yield up to 60 kilos of fruit.
Buying and storing
Choose large, shiny, firm cherries with green stems. Avoid bruised, flabby or pitted fruit. Cherries’ flavour and texture suffer in warm temperatures so store fruit in the refrigerator – they will last for up to a week. Check fruit to remove cherries which have gone bad so as not to spoil others. To freeze cherries, rinse and drain fruit, lay them on a tray then freeze overnight. Once cherries are frozen, store them in a plastic bag. Frozen fruit may be kept for up to a year.
This low-kilojoule sweet treat provides vitamin C and a range of other potent antioxidants.
Sweet cherries can be gently washed and eaten raw. Add the fruit to a cheese platter or pit cherries and add to a rocket and feta salad or a fruit salad. Cook pitted sour cherries in simmering water until soft then add a little sugar to make a cherry compote to serve atop reduced-fat ice cream or low-fat yoghurt, or as a filo-pastry pie filling.
Did you know? Cherries have been around since the Stone Age.