The cherry fruit is part of the Rosaceae family which also includes almonds, peaches, apricots and plums. They are small and fleshy, red or reddish black fruits that contain a hard seed on the inside. It is believed the Romans discovered this fruit in Asia Minor around 70 BC. They then introduced these cherries to Britain in the first century AD. Available in many species, the two kinds that are commonly eaten are the wild or sweet cherry Prunus avium and the sour cherry Prunus Cerasus.
Here are some interesting facts about Cherries:
1. The word ‘cherry’ comes from the Turkish town of Cerasus.
2. Cherries belong to the rose family.
3. Canada holds the record for baking the biggest cherry pie in the world. A pie weighing 39,683 pounds was baked in Oliver, British Columbia which broke the record that was earlier held by Traverse City.
4. 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.
5. Once upon a time, serving ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas was prohibited.
6. Traverse City, Michigan celebrates the annual National Cherry Festival since 1925. Called the National Cherry Festival since 1931, the event is now held for two days to celebrate cherries. Fun activities like pie eating contests, cherry pit spitting, and the Grand Royale Parade with the Cherry Queen are the major attractions of the festival. USA Today has ranked this as one of the top ten festivals.
7. Every year the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm hosts the International Cherry Pit Spit contest in Eau Claire, Michigan. The competition has gained immense popularity and the town is now known as “the Cherry Pit Spitting Capital of the World”.
8. To really bring out the flavor of cherry, use ¼ teaspoon of pure almond extract.
9. Glacé cherries are processed for extra two weeks. This gives them a candy-like property and area ideally used in the traditional cake or even cake decorations and as an ingredient in cookies, breads and other baked specialties.
10. A chemical reaction between cherries and alkalies such as baking powder causes a blue discoloration in a baked product. This can be prevented by using sour cream instead of milk in the recipe or by adding an acidic liquid.
11. Cherries are best paired with herbs like sage, chives, and verbena; dairy products like sweet cream and ricotta cheese; and with meats like pork and beef especially when black pepper is added.
13. Cherries are known to have a very short fruiting season. Areas of Northern America see these cherries as the first ones to ripen amongst other fruits; therefore the term ‘in cherry condition’ has been derived which means something new.
14. 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.
15. Depending on the conditions of the growth, about 7,000 cherries grow on an average tart cherry tree. A cherry pie is made out of about 250 cherries. Thus, 28 pies can be made with the cherries from one tree.
16. 150 to 200 pounds of tart cherries are produced annually in Michigan which has almost 4 million cherry trees.
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