Did you know that Britain imports over 95% of its cherries? Cherry Aid, an off-shoot of Food Lovers Britain, aims to change that. This year, on National Cherry Day - 16th July - they are encouraging you to support the Great British Cherry by planting, growing and eating!
Cherries were first brought to our isles from Persia by the Romans – there’s even a rumour that the cherry trees grew where the Romans spat out the stones as they marched! The humble cherry is jam-packed (sorry, couldn’t resist!) with health-giving properties. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, with a low glycaemic index, making them a delicious and healthy snack. They are also favoured by arthritis sufferers and those with sore and aching joints for their anti-inflammatory properties. Because they contain melatonin, they may help regulate your internal body clock and fight ageing. Add a dose of vitamin C into the bargain, and these tasty little fruits can help with your immunity too.
Over the past fifty years, we’ve seen a serious decline in our native cherry orchards. With around 750 acres of countryside now devoted to cherry orchards compared with 1,750 acres in the Nineties, there’s clearly a need to protect and inject some vitality into British cherry orchards. Sourcing local fruit is, of course, far more environmentally friendly as it cuts down on food miles.
One way to start is to buy fruit from your local farmers’ market and only choose British cherries. Vote with your feet – if you use a supermarket ask them to stock British fruit.
Another way is to plant your own cherry tree. You can look forward to the most beautiful blossom in spring followed by a very short (usually about four weeks around July time) but delicious fruiting season. The RHS has some tips on what cherry tree to grow in your garden. Check out the Natural History Museum’s survey on where urban cherry trees are growing to discover more about planting yours (or finding some sneaky cherries in a park near you perhaps?!)
Eat Seasonably Cherry & Almond Pudding (from the great Eat Seasonably website)
So simple and so tasty, this could well be the best pudding in the world. Crunchy and tart and fruity. Perfect!
What you need
• 50g Butter
• 100g Caster Sugar
• 2 large Eggs, separated
• 40g Self Raising Flour
• 100g Ground Almonds
• 185ml Milk
• 250g Cherries, stoned
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/ Gas 4
Cream the butter and sugar until light & fluffy
Beat in the egg yolks one at a time
Stir in the flour, almonds & milk
Beat the egg whites until stiff & fold into the almond mixture
Spoon the mixture into a 1 litre oven proof dish (24cmx18cm or 23cm round) arrange the cherries on top
Stand the dish in a roasting pan of water & bake for 30 minutes until browned