9 September 2011
The happy red Montmorency tart cherry Prunus cerasus has delighted for centuries. It is a cultivated sour cherry that was selected from wild cherry varieties of Northern Europe about a thousand years ago. Tart cherries also came from wild varieties in the Caspian and Black Sea areas and were popular in Greece before 300 BC. They were very well liked by the Persians and Romans of old, and are quite popular in Iran today. Montmorency is the most popular of tart cherry varieties. The tree was named after the Montmorency valley in France, famous for its tart cherries. While colonist brought cherries to America in the 1600s, the French are credited with planting the Montmorency tart cherry along the St. Lawrence River and around the Great Lakes, the leading cherry producing region in North America today.
Eden Montmorency tart cherries grow near the east shore of northern Lake Michigan, ideal for tree fruit because of a strong seasonal lake effect. Seventeen years ago six families in the area asked Eden to help convert their orchards to organic. These orchards have now been managed organically for more than a decade, and more orchards are being converted to organic each year. These healthy orchards produce the most delicious tart cherries that we have ever experienced.
The Montmorency tart cherry is traditionally known as the ‘pie cherry’ and the ‘healing cherry’. In areas where this cherry has been grown for generations, locals attest to its efficaciousness. A Michigan State University study found the antioxidants anthocyanins and their anlyon cyanidin compounds in the pigment of the Montmorency cherry. They also found kaempferol, isoqueritrin, and quercetin. Research conducted at Brunswick Laboratories in Massachusetts and the Hollings Cancer Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina found that Montmorency cherries contain ellagic acid, a naturally occurring plant phenolic. All of these are powerful antioxidants. Other compounds of note found in Montmorency cherries are perillyl alcohol and melatonin. Dr. Russell Reiter of the University of Texas Health Science Center, said, “We were surprised at how much melatonin was in cherries, specifically the Montmorency variety.” According to research melatonin is a most potent antioxidant, even more so than vitamins C, E and A, and it's soluble in both fat and water and can enter cells that many vitamins cannot.
A pantry stocked with EDEN Montmorency tart cherry juice, concentrate, dried cherries, sauce, and fruit butters makes it easy to enjoy the taste, aroma, and health benefits of the Montmorency Cherry year round in cooking and baking, or right out of the container for pleasing beverages and snacks.
Due diligence and patience are inherent in all EDEN Montmorency tart cherry offerings. Each is slowly prepared with no refined sugar, genetically engineered enzymes, sulfites, chemical preservatives or any other short cut pareve.
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