cherries-3With the start of the cherry season having arrived consumers will now be able to find the plump, juicy and sweet fruit on their local supermarket shelves until early September.

Cherry fans can get their hands on a number of varieties that ripen at different times in the season. ‘Merchant’ cherries are available now and can be distinguished by their dark red skin and large size, followed by others including exclusive English variety ‘Penny’, alongside ‘Kordia’ and ‘Sweetheart’, which ripens towards the end of the season.

Here’s some fun facts about cherries that you probably never knew!

Cherries offer so much more than just an amazing taste, they also have a number of health benefits:

  • 100g of cherries provide 25% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin C
  • Cherries are a rich food source of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin promotes healthy sleep patterns.
  • Powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins are found abundantly in cherries. Cherries are the richest source of anthocyanins 1 and 2, which give them their ruby colour.

Cherries have pleased the palates of food lovers for centuries and have a very interesting history, did you know…?

  • It is believed cultivated cherries were introduced to Britain in the first century AD. Legend has it that you can trace the route of old Roman Roads in Britain by looking out for wild cherry trees. It has been suggested that Roman legions spat the stones from the fruit as they marched through Britain.
  • The Latin name for the sweet cherry is Prunus avium meaning ‘plum and bird’; possibly due to the fact birds have a particular taste for cherries, as farmers will testify.
  • Britain’s biggest cherry tree is 45 ft tall – humongous!

Over the last few years the British cherry has enjoyed a renaissance and growers have been working hard to ensure there is a large variety to choose from, these include:

  • MERCHANT is one of the earliest cherries to ripen. The fruit is large, sweet, and dark-red, with a good flavour.
  • SUNBURST has large dark fruit, with a rich cherry flavour.
  • STELLA is medium sized so good for smaller members of the family. The dark-red fruit is very sweet and juicy.
  • SKEENA produces very large fruit with a good flavour.
  • REGINA has large dark fruit that has a firm texture.
  • KORDIA is a mid-season cherry that is medium-large in size, has firm flesh and a good flavour.
  • LAPINS starts the second half of the season and has large dark-red/black juicy fruits with dark flesh.
  • SWEETHEART as its name suggests, produces cherries that are predominantly sweet but they are not sugary to taste. Sweetheart ripens towards the end of the British cherry season.
  • PENNY has outstanding quality and is the latest cherry to ripen. Penny is a black cherry that is large, firm and very sweet to eat.