The cherry means above all that it is an edible fruit of the cherry tree. It is a stone fruit, also called drupe. It is mainly of a more or less dark red to black colour and rarely yellow.
From the end of May to mid-August, she is harvested, sorted and wrapped by hand before landing on the stalls. Sweet or tart, she can be eaten either raw or cooked. Certainly, she is a little more caloric than other fruits. But she has nutritional qualities which it would be a shame to deprive!
This fruit makes about 50 calories per gram. The flower is white and there are over 600 varieties.
The cherry originates from the Middle East. Legend has it that the birds left the East and dropped pits all the way to the West, and that is how the cherry ended up in Asia Minor.
Some people claim that the word "cherry" comes from the Sanskrit word "karoza" meaning "that it tastes", but others say that the first cherries originated from Kerassos, the Greek name from which the French and Spanish originate: cherry/chereza for the cherry fruit/cherezo for the tree. Still others say it comes from Turkish, where the cherry is referred to as "kiraz".
In Europe, since the 4th millennium B.C., a variety of cherry, naturally present in the natural state, was consumed from the "wild cherry tree". Selection and grafting have gradually led to varieties with bigger, fleshier and sweeter fruit.
Cherry 🍒 is not only a summertime staple food, it is also a piece of history full of mystery.
Picked from the tree, then made into jam or cooked into clafoutis, cherries are highly appreciated for their sweet and sour taste. But what is the history and symbolism of the cherry tree?
They can be found in most Japanese parks and gardens. The first to bloom are those of Okinawa. 🍒
Many parks in Tokyo also offer this spectacle, including Chidorigafuchi where spectators can rent boats to admire the cherry trees. The show can also be seen in Washington and near Paris, at the Parc de Sceaux, which includes two orchards of cherry blossoms.
The symbolism of the cherry blossom is incredible in Asia. "The flower, as fragile and delicate as life, announces spring. The Japanese symbolism of cherry blossoms coinciding with the spring equinox, is the occasion for many religious ceremonies and popular festivities," explains Jean-Yves Maisonneuve.
The metaphor of cherry blossoms is used to symbolize life, which is beautiful and short, but also success, at exams for example. The cherry blossom is a symbol of renewal, purity, prosperity, ephemeral beauty and evolution. The association of cherry growers' organizations states on its site that in Japan, "in Japan, we continue to offer, at a wedding, an infusion of cherry blossoms to the guests, a guarantee of prosperity for the new spouses". It is also a good luck charm that is found in many different forms in Japan.
The cherry is a fruit very often used in art. Jean-Yves Maisonneuve gives several examples, among others: The Virgin with Cherries (Titian), The Rest during the Flight into Egypt (the Baroche). "The beauty, softness and heart-shaped plastic have inspired artists since ancient times," says Maisonneuve.
Moreover, "for the Christian religion, the red colour of the cherry evokes the blood shed by Christ on the Cross. This is why cherries are very present in the representations of the Last Supper".
These expressions correspond to a "paradoxical approach between the precious and the devaluation," analyses Jean-Yves Maisonneuve. This is the "cherry on the cake", the final touch in pastry making. Or, "in a broader sense, the extra reward or the height of irony". "Having the cherry" means being unlucky. "Worrying about it like a jinx" means not caring. Because Jinx is a variety of cherry that doesn't matter," explains Jean-Yves Maisonneuve.
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