Tuesday, 28 July 2009
The cherry is a fleshy fruit that contains a single stony seed. It belongs to the Rosaceae family, along with almonds, peaches, plums and apricots.
The cherry as we know today are thought to have come from a wild cherry which grows in areas spanning from the United Kingdom to western Asia. Since ancient times, the trees with the sweetest fruit have been selected for cultivation and from these, the modern varieties have arisen.
The cherry is generally understood to have been brought to Rome from northeastern Anatolia, historically known as the Pontus region, in 72 BC. The Romans are thought to have taken their preferred varieties to Britain when occupying the country in the 1st century AD.
In Australia the first commercial cherry orchard was planted at Young in New South Wales in 1878. Young has continued to grow cherries since then and today, Young and Orange are the major cherry growing areas of Australia. However, South Australia and Tasmania also produce a lot of the cherries that are found in the shops today.
A breakdown of the world cherry produces, Australian cherry growing regions and Australian cherry seasons are provided below.
Here are some instructions for storing cherries to maximise their lifespan…..that is, if you can stop yourself from eating them all!!!
* Cherries are picked ripe and sweet from the tree, so there is no need to ripen them.
* Keep the cherries cool, ideally in the fridge, to keep them fresh for longer.
* Store dry and loosely packed in a covered container in the fridge until needed.
* Leave the stems on - they help keep the cherries fresh.
Cherries have a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which act together to deliver health benefits not available in supplements. Fresh foods not only retain more of their nutrients than processed foods or supplements, but these act together to naturally provide the body with a more complex and potent mix of the compounds it requires to prevent disease.
Vitamins E and C and the flavonoids found in cherries and other fruits may slow ageing and they may slow or even reverse the symptoms of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Cherries also contain compounds that can help to slow or inhibit the progression of cancer (Polyphenolics Egallic acid and Lignans).
Antioxidants are necessary to clear the body of damaging free radicals and they are most effectively acquired through diet. If we don’t consume enough antioxidants, damage can occur, leading to degeneration and disease including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer, inflammatory conditions and neurological diseases. Cherries contain 16 antioxidants, plus a suite of other compounds with beneficial health benefits.
Cherries may benefit people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions such as gout, pancreatitis, or prostitis, as well as allergic conditions including asthma, hay fever, eczema and hives because they contain the compounds cyanidin and quercetin.
So cherry lovers can indulge to their heart’s content, because cherries have significant health benefits in slowing or inhibiting the progression of cancer, ageing, neurological diseases, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory conditions. They may also aid in detoxification of foreign substances.
And to top this off – cherries have only 224 kilojoules (54 calories) per 100 grams and virtually no fat!
Source: Wikipedia, Victorian Cherry Association and Fresh for Kids