If you love cherries as much we do in our household, then you’re probably aware that it’s National Cherry Day today. According to CherryAid, in the last 50 years we’ve lost 90% of our cherry orchards and now import around 95% of the cherries we eat.
Eat them raw!
Luckily, my Saturday market man had lots of lovely British cherries this weekend and eaten as they are, they are incredibly good for you despite containing a lot of sugar. They have been listed among the top superfoods for their antioxidant properties due to their high level of anthocyanins which are apparently great for lowering the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and reducing the risk of heart disease. As I said, they are high in sugar – a handful could contain as much as 20g of sugar!
Grow your own
You could do your bit and buy a little cherry tree. There are many dwarf varieties available nowadays which work well even in the smallest gardens like mine. Look out for patio varieties like Stella, Sunburst and Crown Morello. These are all British dessert cherries which can be harvested from the middle of July and are perfect for jams, pies or even wine.
If you don’t have a garden or patio, try finding a community orchard near you. North London’s Forty Hall Farm has recently planted several varieties of cherry trees and is always in need of volunteers to continue reconstructing the orchard back to its former glory.
Cherries are of course amazing in cakes and desserts so if you have a few mushy ones, here are a few recipes to get you baking
Cherry Cupcakes – simple sponge with cherry jelly or fresh cherry filling. I made these on The Great British Bake Off.
Cherry and Almond Muffins – perfect for using up mushy or over ripe cherries