The cherry is one of the most anticipated spring fruits in the Mediterranean, after the loss of the indistinguishable white flowers of the cherry tree that gives way to the leaves that heralds the arrival of this delicious red fruit.
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What is cherry?
The cherry or cherry are the sweet and red fruits, with a delicious flavor, that are the fruit of the fruit trees of the genus Prunus. All cherry trees not of the Prunus genus such as plum, almond, apricot or apricot and peach or peach, and that we commonly known as cherry or cherry. In Spain the most common varieties are Prunus cerasus and Prunus avium.
The cherry tree is a tree between 6-15 meters high depending on the species, of light brown hard wood, with bright green leaves and very beautiful white flowers that appear in the spring at the same time as the leaves. The cherries ripen in late spring, turning from green to red hot, with firm and juicy flesh.
What kind of fruit is cherry?
The cherry is a red fruit (drupe type) that we classify within sweet fruits such as pear , plum or fig. It comes, as we have already described, from the cherry tree.
Its collection period is short and depends a lot on the conditions of temperature, rainfall, etc. They do not ripen outside the tree, so they must be picked when ripe.
What is the difference between cherries and picotas?
Although the origin is the same, you have to distinguish and know how to differentiate the cherry from the pillory. La Picota is a variety of cherry with the exclusive denomination of origin in the Valle del Jerte .
The main characteristic that differentiates the pillory from the other cherries is that when the fruit is touched to pick it up, the peduncle of the pillory detaches and they are marketed without a tail, that is, the cherry that is marketed without a tail is called a pillory. .
The Pillory is a variety of cherry and not all cherries are pillory.
There are California variety cherries that are marketed without tails, but in this case they cannot be called a pillory.
The pillory matures later than the cherry and is the last to be harvested from the tree, usually during the second half of June and the month of July. The pillory, before this date is difficult to buy in the markets.
In addition to the fact that the pillory does not have a tail, we find other differences such as taste, texture and color. The cherry is very smooth, firm and of an intense and dark red color, almost black that crunches when bitten with a sweet and slightly acid flavor. This acidity decreases when it is more mature and is richer in sugar. In addition, it usually has a fairly large bone depending on the variety.
How do you eat the cherry?
The cherry is a red fruit that can be eaten naturally and unprocessed in order to benefit from its properties in its entirety thanks to its flavor and texture, they are often used in the preparation of cakes, mousses, jams, compotes among other products.
It is increasingly present in the food industry that has seen in this fruit great possibilities of profitability in the products in which they are added.
The cherry is consumed by many people not only in Spain but in much of the world, but it is highly appreciated by children , as it has a sweet taste that they like a lot. In addition, it is a fun and easy fruit to eat for the little ones who only have to separate it from the bone in their mouth and then spit it out.
It is very healthy for the body to carry out a one-day diet based on cherries, a full-blown cleaning for the summer. Taking cherries, in any of its varieties, helps to delay the aging of cells, they are rich in fiber and fructose.
The cherry is a summer fruit in the northern hemisphere where the fruit collection season begins with the earliest in April and ends with the collection in August, in the case of the latter.
The harvest season depends mainly on two factors, the altitude of the cherry tree fields and the climate where they are planted, starting with the harvest in the regions with less altitude and ending with the plantations that are located in areas with higher geographical altitude.
You can check the calendar of the fruit season to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.
In addition to Spain, these delicious healthy foods are produced in different areas around the world such as North America, mainly on the Pacific coast, California and Michigan being the most notable.
The country with the highest production is Turkey, which, together with Spain and Italy , are the Mediterranean countries with the highest number of exports.
There are also cherry plantations in the southern hemisphere, but in less quantity than in the north. It is the case of Chile, which is the most important in this area and the largest exporter in South America, and the harvest goes from October to January, and you can arrive until February depending on the season.
How do you eat the cherry?
We always recommend eating fresh, raw and seasonal fruits.
Out of season, this fruit can be purchased canned . Cherries in syrup, cherry jam or even candied among others.
The cherry is also used in many places to make liqueurs . In Portugal, more specifically in Lisbon or Óbidos, where this liquor is typical and a tourist attraction, we can find the ginjinha or Ginja, which is a curious liquor obtained from sour cherries or ginja cherries mixed with brandy and other ingredients. In Óbidos it is served in small glasses made of chocolate that combines perfectly with cherry in general and with this liqueur in particular.
What is the origin of the cherry?
According to historical accounts, we can trace its origin to the Greek colony of Kerasos, on the Black Sea coast. Its cultivation was expanded by Rome throughout its empire.
It is currently grown in countries with a temperate climate in both the northern and southern hemispheres, as we have already explained.
In other countries such as Japan, the cherry tree is very famous, although the consumption of the cherry is not very massive. A very special and tourist event in the Japanese country is the flowering of the Japanese cherry trees or Sakura, which is a natural event known and appreciated throughout the planet.
The cherry blossom in Japan is a symbol of rebirth, of life itself, and of its beauty. In spring, thousands of people travel to Japan to enjoy this spectacle of nature of these trees blooming en masse with their white and pink colors that, although in many cases they do not bear fruit and are ornamental. They are cultivated for their sentimental and decorative value, being a national emblem. In Spain we have the most beautiful show that cherry trees can offer us, it is the Jerte Valley, in Extremadura.
The Cherry Blossom Festival, in the Jerte Valley, is above all a popular celebration that tries to reflect the life of an entire region, both past and future. To do this, in the Jerte Valley all kinds of activities are organized that serve as a showcase for the culture, gastronomy, traditions and way of life of this region, which is very popular for the production of magnificent quality of these incredible foods. beneficial to our health.
We recommend visiting the Jerte Valley in the cherry blossom season and having a unique experience in one of the most beautiful natural environments in our country.
Fruit that people of all ages like and that in addition to its sweet taste that they like so much, it provides us with different beneficial nutritional properties and as notable are the diuretic, depurative and remineralizing properties thanks to the fact that it is a fruit rich in vitamins A (beta-carotene or provitamin A), B (Vitamins B9 or folic acid), C, E and K and in minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulfur. In addition, it is rich in anthocyanins and ellagic acid, powerful antioxidants.
The body needs potassium to make protein, break down and use carbohydrates, build muscle, control the electrical activity of the heart, among other functions.
It is low in fat and protein , but is abundant in carbohydrates, largely fructose . The caloric intake of these foods is not one of the highest in the sweet fruit category, reaching 59 calories per 100 grams of product .
It has a low fat content and no cholesterol , its energy value is provided mostly by carbohydrates.
Benefits of cherries
We find the red pearls of the fruit with different medicinal properties and health benefits. Consumption is recommended for all types of people, although it should be eaten in moderation alternating with other types of fruits . We always recommend a varied diet in any of the varieties of food.
Cherries are full of antioxidants called anthocyanins that help reduce heart disease among other benefits.
Cherries are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin , an antioxidant that helps regulate the body’s heart rate and sleep cycles .
Melatonin is a hormone that is involved in the natural sleep cycle. Natural levels of melatonin in the blood are highest at night. Some research suggests that eating melatonin-rich foods such as cherries, rice, oats, corn, tomatoes , bananas, and walnuts may be helpful in treating sleep disorders, such as delayed sleep, and in provide some relief from insomnia and jet lag.
Benefit for our eyes
Cherries are an excellent source of beta-carotene (vitamin A, essential for the body). In fact, they contain 19 times more beta-carotene than blueberries and strawberries.
The consumption of beta-carotene can help us maintain the optimal state not only of our eyes but also of the skin and neurological function.
Reduces the risk of diabetes
Consuming these varieties of foods helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes . In addition, they are well tolerated by diabetics due to their low glycemic index fructose and levulose content.
They are also suitable for consumption by patients with diabetes , since they do not contain more glucose than fruits such as pear. Its glycemic index is 22 . Also, this fiber is very rich in fiber which is important for digestive health and helps lower blood sugar or diabetes.
Depending on what type of diet we eat, over time, excess glucose in the blood can cause health problems such as diabetes. Eating these types of breath will help us to have a healthier diet and a happier life.
Weight control aid
Cherries are a good choice for weight control , due to their low calorie intake. They provide around 48 calories for every 100 gums of this food, reaching 59 calories in the case of the sweetest ones.
They are recommended in weight loss diets for their satiating , intestinal regulating and diuretic effect. This is due to its fiber, water and potassium content, as well as its low content of lipids and sodium.
The consumption of cherries brings us great benefits for our skin. Thanks to its vitamins A and C they protect and soften it. They also promote tanning due to their carotene content and can help reduce cellulite, as they improve microcirculation and inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue.
The cherries contain a large amount of antioxidants , including vitamin C, which fight the signs of aging and enhance the ability of the body to protect against bacteria and viruses.
The components of the cherry purify the body, therefore it can be considered an anti aging food.
In the natural cosmetics industry there are already cosmetic products for the skin such as cherry-based hand creams or lip balm.
Finally and observing the nutritional quality of the cherry, which is also part of the culture of a region of our country such as Extremadura, we can only recommend the consumption of this fruity candy that nature gives us.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.