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Minnie Royal Cherries
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Minnie Royal cherries are small to medium in size with an approximate diameter of 2.5 centimeters. They have a firm snappy skin that ranges from deep red to brilliant magenta. They exhibit the classic, slightly rounded heart shape and are quite uniform in size. What sets the Minnie Royal cherry apart from other varieties is their longer than average stems and light pink inner flesh. They are a categorized as a sweet cherry but often finish tart notes of cranberry, red currant and rhubarb on the palate.
Minnie Royal cherries are available late spring through summer.
All cherries are members of the family, Prunus and are descendants of the wild cherry, Prunus avium. They are classified as stone fruits (fruits containing a singular central seed), alongside apricots, plums, peaches and nectarines. The Minnie Royal cherries are prized for their early ripening and low chilling requirements. They are often planted alongside Royal Lee cherry trees as a pollinator.
Minnie Royal cherries have the best of both worlds, bet it tart or sweet. While tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin, sweet cherries are high in potassium, beta carotene, vitamin C, anthocyaninis and quercetin – all of which have been found to fight cancer when working together. Sweet cherries have also been found to help lower uric acid levels – aiding athletes’ sore/inflammed muscles and those who suffer from gout.
The Minnie Royal cherry is exceptionally versatile because it walks the line between being a sweet and tart variety. It balances well against rich game meats such as duck or venison, but it also combines nicely with creamy desserts such as cheesecake or crème brûlée. It is a firm cherry that holds its shape well in raw applications, baked goods or sauces.
Japanese culture reveres flowering cherry trees as a symbol of friendship. In 1912, Japan gave more than 3,000 cherry-blossom trees to the United States as a gif to honor the growing bond between the two countries. What started as a humble thought has now grown into an annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. when the trees bloom each spring. Similar to Washington, D.C. Japan has a thousand-old tradition called hanami –where people hold feasts under blooming cherry-blossom trees, or sakura to celebrate the spring blooms. A fallen cherry blossom symbolizes a fallen samurai who sacrificed his life for the emporer. During World War II, this tradition was carried on when painted on the side of kamikaze warplanes.
The first documentation of cherry cultivation dates back to 4000 B.C. in modern day China. Cherries were brought through ancient trade routes into Turkey, which is known as the crossroads of Asia and Europe as it has historically been the center of major trade routes. It is believed that cherries were named after the Turkish town of Cerasus. Cherry trees flourish in Mediterranean climates and temperate climatic zones that experience four seasons. The Minnie Royal can sustain even fewer chill hours than many other varieties.