We here in Ontario are in the latter stages of cherry season. Have you indulged yet? Whether you opt for the large sweet plump cherries –perfect for eating fresh, and wonderful in fresh fruit salad- or the smaller, tart Sour Cherries that are great for baking and making jam, Ontario cherries are one of summer’s true delights.No county fair would be complete without a cherry pie competition, and is there anything better on a sultry night than cherries jubilee?
Interestingly, given our ravenous appetite for them, cherries are not native to North America but were introduced here in the sixteenth century by English and French settlers; they are though to have originated in North Africa and Western Asia, and were introduced to England during the reign of Henry VIII. The word “Cherry” itself –and the French word, cerise-are derivatives of the ancient Greek port city Cerasis, (now Giresun, Turkey) that exported the fruit to Europe. Besides being delicious, cherries are good for you too; high in vitamins A and C, and potassium, and a traditional natural aid against gout, muscle soreness, high blood pressure and even insomnia. If your favourite thing to do with cherries is snacking, then you’re all set; no need to cut or pit the cherry, just throw some in a bowl or your cheese and fresh fruit plate and have at it! But if you are going to bake pies or make jam, you’ll want to invest in a cherry pitter like the one pictured below, it will really make your job a lot easier!
So whether you’re making your own cherry ice cream, or cherry tarts, or just eating them out of the basket, you should do yourself a favour this week and pick up a box or two before the season is over. And if you’re not sure what to cook with your fabulous cherries, why not go old-school and whip up some Cherries Jubilee?