Cherries are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits which dates back to B.C. They have pleased our palates for centuries.The cherry tree is native to Asia and Anatolia.
The English word cherry comes from Assyrian karsu and Greek κέρασος (kerasos), which is the ancient name of a city in Black Sea region in Turkey, Giresun. It is beleived that the homeland of the cherry is Giresun and this city gave its name to the fruit.
Their ruby red color and tangy taste won cherries a place on the tables, also give a touch of class to savoury dishes.
Today there are thousands of varieties of cherries and most are still picked by hand.
The cherry tree produces fruit in five years with a bloom period in early April.
This year I had the chance to experiment harvesting rainier cherries (white cherry) in Greek φράουλα (fraula) or πετροκέρασο(petrokeraso).
The white cherries are considered a premium type of cherry that have thin skin and thick creamy yellowish-red flesh. A good quality of white cherry must be large, firm and have deep creamy colouring.
The brown spotting on the skin indicates high sugar content. The light yellow to yellow-orange coloured fruit is ready to harvest late June through July. As it ripens in that period, the sugar content rises.
The trees at the countryside that we harvested are not disinfected (fully organic). So, the cherry fruits had communities of insects. The cherry warms do not harm human beings who have accidentally ingested, because they are not adapted to living in human intestines. But it is certainly disgusting to know that you have been eating worms!
Prior to harvest or eating, a simple control is required. Squize the fruit which is near to the stem, if it is soft it means that the fruit is infested by cherry worm.
I loved the taste part. Because you should taste your cherry tree before picking, whether its fruit is ripen.
With a wooden ladder, we climbed up the tree and picked the cherries saying “one for me, one for the basket”!!
We picked the fruit with stems attached because otherwise may spoil easily. The fruit with stem, helps retain their freshness after picking. They keep better and longer if the stem is attached after harvest.
Birds love cherries, especially the white cherries. They love to perch and pick the cherry fruits off. For that reason we decided to leave the fruits that are at the higher branches to birds. So you never get all the fruit, but share some with birds.
We harvested the tastiest cherries ever and enjoyed the outdoors life!