The cherry tree’s origin remains quite a mystery, since there is no accurate evidence of its true origin. The ancient Greeks believed that cherries came from an East region close to the Black Sea called “Kerasounta” (in Greek, cherries are called “kerasia”). Nowadays, cherries are mainly cultivated in the Northern hemisphere.
More than 1,000 varieties of cherries grow in the wild, but fewer than 10 are grown commercially to produce fruit. Out of these, there are two important cherry species: sweet or true cherries (Prunus avium) and sour cherries (Prunus cerasus). While cherry trees are usually grown for their edible fruits, they also have an ornamental value due to their beautiful white-pink flowers. The name “cherry” also refers to the cherry tree and its famous wood.
Cherries are low-calorie fruits with a high concentration of water, which accounts for more than 82%. Besides being delicious, fresh cherries provide us with plenty of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of fiber and rich in polyphenols.
Fresh cherries are usually available from May until August but can be found frozen throughout all the year. European cherries that are produced in Greece stand out for their deep red color, their large round shape and their crunchy succulent flesh.
Cherries can be consumed raw or may be used in pancakes or cakes, as compote, made into jams, used in patisserie or other culinary uses, made into liqueurs, soft drinks, smoothies or juices.
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