If there is a trip that fills me with precious memories, it is the one I made to the Jerte Valley. There is a fantastic parador in this Extremaduran place, from whose room I not only saw the cherry trees, but also a small stream that, like a lullaby, helped me to savor this wonderful fruit from another perspective.
There are cherry crops in many areas of Spain, but one of the most famous is this valley where water abounds and these fruit trees that are everywhere. Many families that live in the villages that the Jerte bathes live on cherries and plant cherry trees everywhere.
June is a long-awaited month for those of us who are lovers of these fruits, both humans and birds and other greedy animals, although we must be careful, It is a fruit that contains a medium level of sugars.
The origin of cherries
This fruit that marks the beginning of summer it is present as a symbol of happiness in the collective unconscious and invades our memory with its beautiful flowers and tasty fruits.
The origin of the cherry seems to be in Asia Minor or, according to other authors, in the Dead Sea, although settled on the European continent thanks to migratory birds that during their travels they spread their seeds.
The wild cherry is known by the name of the Prunus avium (L.) and belongs to the Rosaceae family. Its cultivation dates from Prehistory, bones of this have been found around stilt settlements of the Stone Age.
The Greeks had a great weakness for cherries. In the book of the History of plants Theophrastus (371 BC) mentions the cherries called Kerasos. Hippocrates’ contemporary physician, Diphilus Siphnius, describes cherries as “very pleasant to a hungry stomach and is a remedy if taken with cold water: but red ones are better and induce urine.”
With the Roman Empire they spread across various European regions. The Romans were very skilled in fruit arboriculture and progressively multiplied varieties. Of this fruit that conquers hearts, there are still traces at Versailles, in the garden of Louis XIX, where cherry trees had preference next to strawberries.
Thanks to the grafts there are numerous varieties of cherries, going from those closest to their wild origins – more acidic – to the most recent grafted varieties, which are sweeter and meatier.
The cherry tree has a great peculiarity: has a familiar spirit as it usually sprouts from the rootIn the same way that many people we like to see the family grow around us.
Ten reasons to eat cherries
First, cherries are rich in vitamins, more acidic than sweet varieties: they have considerable amounts of vitamins A, C and fiber. In fact, cherries contain twenty times more beta-carotene (vitamin A) than strawberries.
The cherry has in its composition different phenolic compounds which gives them a great characteristic of being an antioxidant fruit, especially in those of darker color.
Thanks to be antioxidants, are beneficial for our heart and cardiovascular system and against various types of cancer.
Cherries are a diuretic food thanks to its large amount of water and favor the elimination of liquids. In addition to its potassium content, the consumption of these fruits improves kidney stones, hypertension and other diseases associated with fluid retention.
They also help detoxify our body, especially the liver and kidneys, improving our metabolism and avoiding diseases.
For its content in flavonoids -responsible for its pigmentation are the so-called anthocyanins- they reduce inflammation, tendon and muscle pain and the symptoms of arthritis and gout. Fresh cherry is also considered a natural anti-inflammatory.
Studies carried out by Velioglu in 1998, showed that cherries present high values of quercetin, similar to the apple. Quercetin helps us regulate histamine and has the exceptionally effective ability to rid the body of harmful free radicals while inhibiting various enzymes that cause inflammation and stimulating the growth of beneficial gut microbiota populations through its prebiotic action among other benefits.
Cherries contain melatonin, which helps regulate heart rate and sleep.
Thanks to their fiber content, they have satiating properties and their consumption is a great ally to combat constipation. These soluble and insoluble fibers They also have important functions for human health like controlling blood glucose levels; reduction of total cholesterol levels; weight control and diabetes prevention.
Cherry tartlets recipe
There is a big difference in nutrient amounts between sour and sweet cherries, sour cherries being more nutritious and tastier for desserts, although if you choose the latter you should add a touch more sweet if you have a sweet tooth.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH
- A cup of raw and organic nuts, such as almonds. It can be replaced by a cup of cassava flour.
- Half a cup of cold ghee butter preferably from cows that graze and / or organic, cut into cubes or 35 grams of organic virgin coconut oil.
- Half a cup of dates, raw agave syrup, or acacia honey (low glycemic index). Failing that, you can replace it with coconut sugar.
- One teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda.
- Four tablespoons of cold water.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE STUFFING
- Two cups of previously pitted cherries.
- Four teaspoons of cassava or almond flour (you can make this by grinding raw almonds).
- Two teaspoons of vanilla essence or powder.
- A quarter cup of lemon juice.
- A quarter cup of maple syrup or coconut sugar or crushed dates or blueberry raisins. If your cherries are very acidic, double this ingredient.
You can add pepper or nutmeg to taste. And don’t forget that cassava, cassava and tapioca are the same.
For the mass:
- Arrange all the ingredients for the base in the blender jug or food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Line the molds with organic greaseproof paper greased with coconut oil.
- Form, in each mold, a base with a layer of more than 1/2 cm of the dough obtained; press with a spoon so that it is well compact. Place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
For the filling:
- While the oven is heating, heat the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted add the syrup and wait for it to dissolve, stirring constantly.
- Add the cherries and wait three or four minutes over low heat.
- Dissolve the cassava or almond flour with the lemon juice, once dissolved you add it to the cooking of the fruit little by little.
- Finally add the vanilla. At this point if you want you can add the nutmeg and pepper. that will bring out the flavor of the cherries.
Add the filling to the base. Cover the cake with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes at 140º. Check the cake after 20 minutes to see how the crust holds up. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
- INSTITUTO POLITÉCNICO DE BRAGANÇA Escola Superior Agrária Nutritional and medicinal properties of fruits and stalks of Prunus avium L. (Cherry). Claudete António André Bastos Bibliotecadigital.ipb.pt. Available at: https://bibliotecadigital.ipb.pt/bitstream/10198/11457/1/Claudete%20Bastos.pdf (Accessed: 8 June 2021).
- Clinical nutrition and hospital dietetics Usfx.bo. Available at: http://www.usfx.bo/nueva/vicerrectorado/citas/SALUD_10/Nutricion_y_Dietetica/71.pdf#page=8
- Complete guide to growing cherries. Varieties and properties, collection and conservation, size, grafting – includes cooking recipes (2021). Available at: https://books.google.es/books?hl=es&lr=&id=fKw_DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT4&dq=origen+de+las+cerezas%C3%A7&ots=I6M_mfDy4Y&sig=3dT54fiSr_fbqvigen= page % 20las% 20cerezas% C3% A7 & f = false
- Base de Datos BEDCA (2021). Available at: https://www.bedca.net/bdpub/index.php
- Cherries, sweet, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories (2021). Available at: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1867/2
Cherries, sour, red, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories (2021). Available at: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1861/2
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- Gao L., Mazza, G. (1995). Characterization, quantification and distribution of anthocyanins and colorlessphenolics in sweet cherry. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 43, 343-6. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/jf00050a015
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- Kim D.O., H.J. Heo, Y.J. Kim, H.S.Yang, C.Y.Lee. (2005). Sweet and sour cherry phenolics and their protective effects on-neuronal cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 53, 9921-9927 https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0518599
- Mozetic B., Simcic M., Trebse, P. (2006). Anthocynins and hydroxycimnamic acids of Lambert Compact cherries (Prunus avium L.) after cold storage and 1- methylcyclopropene treatment. Food Chemistry, 97, 302-309. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030881460500364X
- Velioglu, Y.S., Mazza, G., Gao, L., Oomah, B.D. (1998). Antioxidant activity and total phenolics in selected fruits, vegeta-bles, and grain products. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 46, 4113-4117. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf9801973