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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Ted gets cheery


… “eat peas with the rich and cherries with the poor” goes the old French saying. Pourquoi? … because the best peas are the first of the season, small and sweet and very expensive and the best cherries are near the end of the season when they are large, sweet, juicy, and plentiful, so they're cheap.

The sweet cherry and the sour cherry are both temperate-latitude trees so they won’t grow in the tropics or sub tropics or Antarctica (yeah that was probably obvious Ted). Like many temperate dwelling trees they have evolved a clever little mechanism to increase their seedlings chances of survival – they need exposure to the cold for the seeds to germinate.  This stops germination occurring during autumn, which would mean that the little seedlings would be killed by winter temps. Instead they emerge in spring and spend the next 3 to 4 years growing before producing their first crop. 

Believe it or not sweet cherries not only survive but thrive in England. Cherries were first introduced into England at Teynham in Kent by no less than the direct order of Henry VIII.  As we all know, Henry was a man of voracious appetites and after trying them in what was then called Flanders, and is now Belgium, he ordered his royal fruiterer to establish them in England.  Look closely at the “Bel’ de Looz” cherries – they are from Belgium, and I somehow feel that Henry would have heartily approved of the packaging.   

Both sweet and sour cherries have been around for centuries.  Earliest records go back to cherries having been imported into Europe from Turkey, and in fact Turkey remains the worlds’ leading producer of both types of cherries today. Naturally cherries contain loads of good stuff, particularly the sour cherries, but the sweet ones also put in a big effort with anti-inflammatory properties which are particularly effective in reducing attacks of gout – another reason why Henry was so keen on them no doubt.

Along with all the in season things we make with cherries (just eating them while not wearing white is my favourite) we then preserve that cherry loveliness in a plethora of foodstuffs and beverages. My absolute least favourite "beverage" is cherry flavoured cough medicine, is it a global plot to put small children off cherries so that the adults can have them all I wonder? … my most favourite … yep you guessed it cherry beer, and now its time to say cheerio for this week ...

5 comments:

Geoff Wilkinson said...

That's a lovely story, I expect with the price of food peas and cherries are reversed now..

Sharon Anck said...

I just pitted a bunch of cherries a few days ago and had the red hands to prove it. I also love cherry liqueur. I sometimes have a shot of that over ice for dessert.

William Kendall said...

They're particularly good in pie and jam!

Gunn said...

Ted was lucky:)
Looks yummy.

Jack said...

The things we learn about food on Ted's days on your blog!

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