Cherries: Get cooking tips, history, lore, and legend of cherries.

Cherry Cooking Tips


Check out these cherry cooking tips, then learn about cherries in lore and legend, along with the history of cherries. Then head into the kitchen and enjoy those delicious fruits.

When using cherries in baked goods, you might notice a blue discoloration around the cherries in the finished product. This is due to a chemical reaction between the cherries and alkalines such as baking powder or baking soda. To prevent discoloration, substitute buttermilkor sour cream for milk in the recipe or add an acidic liquid such as lemon juice.

Pure almondextract is a natural companion to cherries. Less than 1/4 teaspoon added to cherry mixtures really brightens the cherry flavor.

When using dried cherries in recipes, you can plump them up just as you would raisins, by covering them with hot water and letting stand about thirty minutes.

Complimentary Cherry Foods

Black pepper goes amazingly well with cherries, especially when paired with pork, beef, or game meats. Dairy products also bring out the mild tart flavors of cherries, particularly sweet cream, ricotta cheese, and mascarpone. As for herbs, choose sage, chives, and verbena.

Cherry Varieties
Cherry Measures, Equivalents, and Substitutions

Lore and Legend

A Japanese legend tells of a brave warrior who lived to a great age, outliving friends and family. His most beloved memory was of playing beneath a cherry tree in Iyo during his youth.

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One summer, the tree died, which the man took as a sign that it was also his time to die. Although a new cherry tree was planted nearby, the old warrior was unconsoled. During the winter season, the old man pleaded with the dead tree to bear flowers just one more time, vowing that if his request was granted, he would give up his long life. The tree bloomed, and true to his promise, the old warrior committed hara-kiri beneath the dead branches of the tree.

As his blood and spirit soaked down to the roots, the tree bloomed once again in the dead of winter. Legend holds this tree in Iyo still blooms in winter every year on the anniversary of the warrior’s death, though all other trees nearby lay in dormant winter state.

Japan has gifted the United States with thousands of cherry trees on more than one occasion as a gesture of friendship. The trees are planted in America’s capital city, Washington, D.C.

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History of Cherries

The cherry is one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits, along with its cousin, the apricot. Cultivation dates back to 300 B.C. and its lineage dates back even farther.

The common cherry tree, Prunus avium, is native to the temperate areas of eastern Europe and western Asia and is part of the Rose family.

Its name comes originally from the Greek, and in Latin means of or for the birds, due to the birds’ obvious love of the fruit. The English word cherry originates from the Assyrian karsu and Greek kerasos. The tree was beloved by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans both for its beautiful flowers and its versatile fruit.

Although a different species of cherry was already strongly established in America by the time the first colonists arrived, the new settlers brought along their favorite European variety and eventually cross-bred the two. Today, 90 percent of the commercial cherry crop is grown in the U.S., mostly in Michigan, California, Oregon, and Washington.

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The most popular variety is the Bing cherry, which was developed by Seth Luelling od Milwaukie, Oregon in 1875. It was allegedly named for his Manchurian foreman. There are now thousands of varieties of cherries and most are still picked by hand.

Cherry Cooking Tips Photo ©2023 Peggy Filippone

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Cherry Cooking Tips
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Cherry Cooking Tips
Cherry cooking tips will help you make the most of sweet or sour cherries in your recipes. Plus cherry lore, legends, and history.
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Peg's Home Cooking

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