The Bottom Line: Sweet facts about cherries!
The Full Story:
- Cherries are drupes, or stone fruits, and are related to plums, peaches and nectarines.
- There are 430 species in the genus Prunus which include cherries, plums, peaches, apricots and almonds – just to name a few.
- It is believed that the sweet cherry originated in the area between the Black and Caspian Seas in Asia Minor around 70 B.C. The Romans introduced them to Britain in the first century A.D.
- The English colonists brought cherries to North America in the 1600s
- There are more than 1,000 varieties of cherries in the United States, but fewer than 10 are produced commercially.
- On average, there are about 44 cherries in one pound
- In an average crop year, a sweet cherry tree will produce 800 cherries
- Seventy percent of the cherries produced in the United States are grown in the Northwest.
- Records indicate that cherries were a prized food in a region of China dating back to 600 BC – fit for royalty and cherished by locals.
- Because cherry wood was thought to keep evil spirits away, the Chinese once placed cherry branches over their doors on New Year’s Day. They also carved cherry wood statues to stand guard in front of their homes.
- In Japan, where cherry blossoms are the national flower, the cherry represents beauty, courtesy, and modesty.
- The symbolic meaning of cherry blossoms in the West is education.