Are you getting set for the Christmas shared table? We are winding down to the big day, saying thanks to you, our lovely readers and supporters this year and spreading the word about our favourite silly season fruit – cherries. Summer Subs Laura and Lauren set off to investigate a local orchard and Victorians can have the pick of their crop too.
December in Australia means warm nights, backyard BBQs and the welcoming of the most delicious summer fruit such as mangoes, peaches, nectarines and an assortment of brightly coloured berries. Of all the summer fruits however, the quinessential fruit of Christmas in Australia has to be the cherry and we learnt a lot about what goes into a cherry when we visited family-owned CherryHill Orchards in Wandin East, Victoria.
It only took 45 minutes from the city to reach CherryHill Orchards before we were wandering through the endless rows of cherry trees searching for the darkest, fattest cherries. For years we had thought the perfect cherry was bright red, and knew that tart cherry juice has been proven to reduce inflammation and muscle soreness after bouts of exercise. But for eating purposes, we learnt that the longer the cherries are left on the tree, the bigger, sweeter, darker and more delicious they get. It only took 10 minutes to fill the bucket (easy to do with long arms) and then we gorged on the dark cherries for at least an hour while laughing and sharing our not-so-tasty experiences growing up with glace cherries and other fake cherry tasting abominations.
Unlike most other fruits, cherries don’t ripen the longer you keep them. Once they’re picked, that’s how sweet they’ll stay and while these ruby red beauties are nice too look at, their taste is nothing to compare to its dark red counterpart.
Lots of families and tourists were at CherryHill while we were visiting and most children had cherry juice dribbling down their chins and stains appearing very fast on their clothes.
Inside George’s Shack we found homemade cherry ice-cream, jam and cordial for sale. The cherry ice-cream is made by pressing cherries through a soft serve machine with vanilla ice-cream. It was delicious! (Hence no time to take a photo)
Cherries are rich in a combination of beneficial antioxidants (particularly anthocyanins, cyanidin and vitamin C) and there is recent scientific evidence suggesting that tart cherries are a significant source of naturally occurring melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body and is thought to regulate sleeping patterns, help fight against insomnia and premature aging.
We left CherryHill Orchard in a relaxed and happy daze with bags heaving with cherries and cherry stains from our fingertips to our lips. CherryHill Orchard is open to visitors for picking through to late January 7 days a week. You can also order your Christmas cherries for delivery on 1300 243 779 or visit their pop up shop in Melbourne’s China Town at the Paramount Centre Food Court, 108 Bourke St.
Thanks girls, such a lovely foodie adventure. Wishing all our readers, sub editors, friends and family a very merry Christmas full of health and happiness. Join us for all the festivities over on instagram @emmastirling @laurafodrnutrition @bobbing_4apples. We will resume our regular blog posts after the Christmas break.