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Bing cherries are a relatively large variety and share the characteristic heart-shape that most cherries exhibit. Their taut skin is smooth and shiny with a deep red to maroon coloring. The firm yet juicy interior has a snappy crunch and encompasses a single pit. The Bing cherry is intensely sweet and tangy, considered by most to be the ultimate cherry for both flavor and texture.
Bing cherries are available from mid-spring until mid-summer.
All cherries are members of the family, Prunus and are descendents of the wild cherry, Prunus avium. They are classified as stone fruits (fruits containing a singular central seed), alongside apricots, plums, peaches and almonds. The Bing cherry is considered the benchmark standard of all cherries and it is the most cultivated variety of sweet cherries in the world. It is a grafted offspring of the now obscure heirloom Black Republican cherry, which mainly serves as a pollinator for other cherry varieties.
Bing cherries are an excellent supply of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, potassium and boron. Their deep red pigment is made possible by the phytochemical called anthocyanin, a potent antioxidants that helps support heart health and provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
Bing cherries are best suited for fresh eating, canning or freezing. Their confectionary sweetness makes them a quintessential dessert ingredient during the summer months. Complimentary sweet pairings include vanilla, nutmeg, hazelnut, cinnamon, peaches, bramble berries, cream, marzipan, white and dark chocolate and powdered sugar. Savory pairings include almonds, apricots, citrus, herbs such as arugula basil and cilantro, pineapple, pork, scallop, duck, grilled fish, wine reductions, nut oils, mild creamy cheeses such as burrata and mascarpone, fennel and figs.
The Bing cherry gets its name from a Manchurian Chinese immigrant named Ah Bing. For three decades he oversaw the production of the Lewelling family orchard where he may have had a hand in the original grafting of the Bing cherry trees.
Cherries are native to China. First documentation of cultivation dates back to 4000 B.C. The Bing cherry was first cultivated in 1875 by Seth Lewelling in Willamette Valley, Oregon. Bing cherry trees still thrive in the Willamette Valley and along the Pacific Coast from Washington to California. Under extreme weather conditions such as excess spring rainfall, the fruit will crack or split prior to harvest, damaging crops. Nature's weather elements alone don't prevent some cherries from making it to market. Birds can account for eating up to 30% of a tree's crop.
Recipes that include Bing Cherries. One is easiest, three is harder.
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