Seasonal Foods: Cherries
Strike it lucky with our seasonal cherries
Today is national Cherry Day! The British cherry industry has bounced back from cheap imports and high production costs, with the summer of 2020 set to be a fruitful season for the UK cherry harvest! At Packed Lunches, we not only use UK cherries but where possible, head down to our allotment and grab some of our own homegrown beauties!
From July-September, cherries are the perfect choice for eating in season and are a great way to support the local economy.
While the cherry’s sumptuous taste makes it a popular choice among Brits today, cherries have a long and colourful history – their consumption can even be traced back to the Stone Age! Take a look at our brief history of the widespread fruit, alongside a localised look at cherries in Devon, their nutritional values, and advice on how to grow and eat your own cherries.
A brief history of cherries
- Ancient cherry pits have been uncovered from caves from the Stone-Age but the earliest written mention of cherries comes from the Greek author Theophrastus, who inventoried the fruit in his History of Plants in 300 BCE.
- Sweet cherries were incredibly popular among Greek citizens and Roman conquerors – it has even been speculated that lines of cherry trees in Rome are markers of ancient roads where soldiers would spit their cherry pits on the side of the road.
- Ornamental cherries also have a popular history throughout East Asia, with Japan being famous for its aesthetic cherry blossom.
- Domestic cherries became widespread throughout Europe and Britain in the 15th century with the most popular cherry being the Bing.
- There are now 3 types of cherries grown mainly for their fruit: sweet cherries, sour cherries and the dukes.
- Though most cherries are now imported into the UK when out of season, there are now enough British cherries grown to supply the UK through the UK cherry season.
The Devonshire countryside is home to its own cherry species – some widespread and some on the brink of survival…
Wild cherry: The white frothy blossom of the Wild cherry tree can be widely found in the woods and hedges of Devon. It’s red fruits are often used for cherry brandy. The timber of Wild Cherry is also highly prized for furniture-making and wood turning due to its rich, red-brown colour
Mazzard: The Mazzard is peculiar to the West Country: it can be found in the parish of Landkey in North Devon after being restored from near extinction by local initiatives.
Eating cherries and their nutritional value
- Cherries contain Vitamin A which is good for the immune systems and helps your organs work properly.
- The most notable health benefit of eating cherries are their high numbers of melatonin which has been proven to treat inflammation and even heart disease.
- The juice from cherries is also a potent antibacterial that fights tooth decay.
If you’d like to try something different then our delicious Chia Jam Breakfast Pots often feature homegrown cherries in the compote! The perfect fruity way to start the day.