There are more than 1,000 varieties of cherry worldwide – around 700 sweet and 300 sour. Sour cherries, such as Morello, are used for cooking and are rarely sold fresh in the UK. Instead they can be bought canned or in syrups.
Organised cherry orchards did not arrive in Britain until Tudor times, but the Romans brought the first cherry trees to Britain from Persia. Legend has it that you can trace old Roman roads in Britain by the wild cherry trees – the Roman legions spat out stones from the fruit as they travelled the country.
In the UK, we spend £60 million a year on cherries.
Ten cherries will give you one of your five-a-day and a quarter of your daily vitamin C.
Hot cherry stones were once used in bed warming pans.
British Cherry Day is celebrated with cherry-themed events around the country. For more information, and a guide to where to pick and buy fresh cherries, visit Food Lovers Britain.
If you’d like to plant a cherry tree, choose an open, sunny spot – preferably on well-drained, light soil such as sandy loam. Contact Black Moor Estate for more information.
Look out for cherry ice cream, made with local Kentish cherries by Simply Ice Cream, an award-winning Kent company.
For a fabulous whole fruit `preserve, try black cherry & cranberry with kirsch (£3.30 for 227g) from Mrs Huddleston’s Luxury Homemade Provisions. To order, click here to email.
Try cherry wine from Carr Taylor – delicious mixed with brandy or vodka, used in fruit salads or trifle, or added to gravy when serving duck. Cherry wine, £4.95 for 50cl, visit Carr Taylor to order.