National Cherry Day 16th July

Who doesn’t love a cherry? If you have tried one and didn’t like them then maybe you just haven’t found your type?  With over 1,200 varieties of cherries worldwide, each with their own unique taste and appearance and not forgetting the nutritional value – These red beauties are not only an exceptional summer accompaniment; they hold an abundance of health benefits too. Just 100g of cherries provides one quarter of our RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of vitamin C, which is essential in helping to support our skin, bones and blood vessels.  What are you waiting for?  Cherries are also high in melatonin, which is an integral hormone for promoting healthy sleep patterns and contain a rich natural source of anthocyanins; powerful antioxidants which give the fruit its ruby red colour.

Today is all about celebrating the cherry – so have a merry cherry day and get stuck in!

Rainers, Lapins, Bings, Lamberts, Skeenas, Sweethearts, Santinas, Chelans, Tulares are some of the most popular and the one I am particularly enjoying at the moment is the Picota – a cherry often underrated from the west of Spain. They come without stalks which I like as that's another time-wasting activity off the list spending unnecessary moments pulling each one off before consumption!  The price of Picotas compared with other types of cherries is good value and even though the stone is fairly large in relation to the berry size, the flesh is firm and delicious.  The Picota is flavoursome and its sweetness is infectious – needless to say the punnet/s disappeared rather quickly, and the only evidence were the pile of stones left behind!  However as with some cherries you don’t get the staining of hands or the appearance of the joker after tucking in, so another bonus!

So, who do we need to thank for introducing this charming piece of fruit? Good old Lucius Licinius Lucullus (not a name to practice if under the influence of too much alcohol - step away from the Cherry Brandy!) He was considered to be the person who carried the cultivated cherry and apricot to Rome from north-eastern Anatolia (and without a sat nav!) which was known as the Pontus region in 72 BC – hope he had a cool bag and comfie pair of sandals! 

And as for bringing them to England it was none other than Henry VIII who popped over to Flanders in Belgium, liked them so much, he brought them back and they were introduced in Teynham, near Sittingbourne in Kent.

There are hundreds of cherry farms throughout the UK, although we still export the majority of cherries in – so why not make today the day you explore all the greatest of the cherry and try out some of the best of British by choosing cherries grown within the UK, you will be sure to notice the difference in freshness and the super sweet flavour from these wonderful local-heritage fruits.

With a multitude of different varieties of British cherry and many subtle differences in colour, size, texture and sweetness; there’s a whole world of juicy goodness waiting to be explored.


Cherries it seemed were part of Roman soldiers’ rations, and as they travelled, the pits (stones) they discarded became the trees that proliferated throughout the empire. There was a saying that to find the old Roman roads, all you had to do was follow the wild cherry trees.


So, to get the best out of your cherry the storage is important; Fresh cherries are best kept unwashed in the fridge in a plastic container with lid leaving their strigs (stalks in layman’s terms) intact. Wash the cherries when you are ready to eat them. If stored correctly cherries can keep for up to seven days or more!


Cherry or olive stoners can be purchased in kitchenware shops or at the following websites;

Buy a strong stoner if you wish to use it for many years and do wear rubber gloves to prevent the juice staining your hands!

Why not freeze your cherries by removing the strigs and place in a lidded plastic container destoned or with their stones and cool the cherries in the fridge for an hour. Then transfer the container with cherries to the freezer.  To defrost put in fridge to defrost slowly. De-stone while partially frozen then you could simmer gently in their juices for 3 minutes and serve with ice cream or cream for an easy dessert! Quite yummy! Or make a very cherry smoothie with a handful of cherries, tablespoon of honey, 200g of yoghurt and ½ lemon.  Firstly, destone the cherries and blend. Add the yoghurt and honey to cherries, mix together. Squeeze half a lemon and thoroughly mix again. Pour into an iced glass for serving.  

Some interesting facts about the cherry….

Germany produces the most cherries followed by the United States.

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.

The word ‘cherry’ comes from the Turkish town of Cerasus.

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.

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

Cherries belong to the rose family.

Fruit production starts three to four years after planting. Tree reaches maturity after seven years.

Cherries are one of the very low-calorie fruits.

Red cherries contain melatonin which helps to fight against harmful toxins. These fruits also contain a high level of antioxidants which are beneficial to the human body.


In Japan, cherry blossoms are unofficial national flower, cherries represent beauty, courtesy, modesty, simplicity, spring and innocence.

The world’s heaviest cherry was grown by Gerardo Maggipinto (Italy) and weighed 21.69 g (0.76 oz) on 21 June 2003.

The most expensive box of cherries was sold for $35,000 Australian dollars bought by Nick Moraitis, (Australia) on 24 October 2007.

Canada holds a record for the biggest cherry pie. The pie weighed 18,000 kg (38,683 pounds).

Any cherries sold after August probably come from cold storage.

Once upon a time, serving ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas was prohibited.


Wood of cherry tree has fine structure and it is often used in the manufacture of furniture.

As just 10 cherries make up one of your five a day. Today has got to be the day where you need to pick and pop your favourite cherry in your mouth to munch between meals for a fit body and mind!

Dont mind if I do....