Mid-July marks the start of the very short British cherry season so be quick and make the most of them! They really are one of the true joys of summer.
Cherries have been pleasing our palates for centuries but did you know that the cherry tree belongs to the same family as almonds, apricots and peaches? They are grown all around the world from Europe and North America to Asia and come in two types; sweet and sour. The sweet version is ideal for popping in your mouth whenever the urge takes you and eaten raw, whereas the sour cherry is best enjoyed in cooking or made into jam!
Cherries not only taste amazing, they’re good for you too! Some of the health benefits include boosting the immune system, preventing heart disease and they have even been known to help treat gout.
A bowl full of cherries helps…
- Ease inflammation of joints and muscles – so great for any fitness fanatics out there!
- Strengthen the brain to prevent memory loss thanks to anthocyanin; a powerful antioxidant.
- Absorb all the vitamins you need including beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, iron and fibre.
- With weight loss thanks to being low in calories and consist of more than 75% water. This makes them great for guilt-free snacking.
- With sleep! Cherries contain melatonin which can help regulate your natural sleep patterns.
With all of these great health benefits it’s easy to see why cherries are one of the Britain’s best-loved ingredients. So, why not celebrate this wonderful fruit with a few of our favourite cherry recipes. Grab them while you can!
If you asked someone what their favourite cherry dessert is they would probably say a classic cherry pie or a rich Black Forest gateau. There’s nothing wrong with that and both of them taste amazing, but the possibilities are endless so why not try something different this summer like our cherry madeleines or a white chocolate and cherry cheesecake? Dark chocolate complements the sweetness of cherries like nothing else so for a quick, but delicious, dinner party dessert pile a bowl of fresh English cherries in a big bowl in the middle of the table and serve with a silky smooth bowl of dark chocolate ganache. Then just sit back and watch your guests dip and devour.
Love a good meat and fruit combo? The tartness of fresh cooked cherries helps to cut through and complement the richness of duck and beef. For the perfect cherry sauce all you need to do is gently cook a finely diced shallot in some butter until softened. Then add 250ml of Madeira and bring to the boil. Continue to cook until the volume is halved. Add 200g fresh cherries which have been pitted and halved and 200ml of chicken stock. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the cherries are tender and the sauce has thickened. Quickly whisk in a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly, season with salt and pepper and spoon over your meat.
If you’re looking for a refreshing and alcohol free soft drink to cool you down this summer we have the answer. Home made cherryade! It’s so simple to make and the kids will love it and is much healthier than the artificial pop you buy from the supermarket. You’ll need about 225g of fresh, ripe cherries which have been washed, halved and pitted. Gently squash the cherries in a big bowl and pour over 1 pint of boiling water. Add the peel from 1 lime and about a tablespoon of the juice. Sprinkle in 50g of caster sugar and stir until dissolved. Cover the bowl and leave to sit for at least two hours. Now all you need to do is strain the liquid and add sparkling water to taste.
Looking for something with more of a kick? How about a twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail using fresh cherries? Lightly crush some black cherries in a cocktail shaker with a long handled spoon. Add 2 tsp of cherry brandy, a couple of dashes of bitters, a double shot of bourbon and a single shot of vermouth. Stir in a scoop of ice cubes and serve with a cherry or two over the side of the glass. Sheer heaven!
We hope you enjoy fresh sweet British cherries this summer however you decide to use them!