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Cedar Bay Cherries
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Cedar Bay cherries have a rounded, bulbous shape and measure approximately 1 inch in diameter. Their exterior skin is smooth and shiny exhibiting a bright orange-red hue. Its soft flesh is juicy and surrounds a cherry-like pit. Cedar Bay cherries have a pleasantly sweet flavor, with berry and grape tasting notes, and are considered to be one of the best tasting Australian native fruits. White blooms precede the fruits and grow on stems nestled between pairs of dark green, oval to elliptical shaped leaves.
Cedar Bay cherries are available in the summer months.
Botanically known as part of Eugenia reinwardtiana, the Cedar Bay cherry is a member of the Myrtaceae family and a relative of the lily pilly berry. Also known as Beach cherries and Fruiting Myrtle, Cedar Bay cherries grow as a shrub or small tree. Cedar Bay cherry trees are enjoyed for the sweet edible fruits they produce as well as for ornamental purposes. Culinarily the fruits are used as a cherry in tropical regions where they grow. Ornamentally the slow growing shrub is easily shaped and can be used to create a hedge or other pruned shapes.
Cedar Bay cherries provide antioxidants.
Cedar Bay cherries are considered a tropical cherry and appear in many preparations where one would find conventional cherries. Their size makes them ideal for eating fresh as a snacking fruit, just be sure to discard the pit. Cedar Bay cherries can be pitted and cooked down to make jam, chutney, and pie filling. Cooked and pureed they can be made into a sauce and served atop desserts or alongside meats. Pitted and halved fruits can be added to fruit tarts, muffins, and cakes, or as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, and salads. Cedar Bay cherries can be pressed to make juice for use in smoothies, cocktails, and frozen desserts. To store, keep Cedar Bay cherries refrigerated and use within one week of harvesting.
The Cedar Bay cherry shares its name with a protected area along the Queensland Coast of Australia, Cedar Bay in the Daintree rainforest region. Accessible only by boat and on foot, Cedar Bay is protected by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and a permit must be pulled to visit the pristine, centuries-old rainforest which is home to numerous Cedar Bay cherry trees.
Cedar Bay cherries are native to eastern Australia. The fruit is known as a ‘bushfood’ or ‘bush tucker,' a group of foods that have provided a source of sustenance since the time of the Aboriginal Australians, the original inhabitants of Australia. In addition to Australia, the Cedar Bay cherry tree can be found growing in parts of Papa New Guinea, Hawaii, and Indonesia. Cedar Bay cherries can thrive in lush coastal and rainforest areas as well as on rocky beach fonts and dry creek beds. Plants can grow up to 4 feet tall though are slow growing in getting there. Luckily Cedar Bay cherry plants start producing fruit early on, as soon as they reach 12 inches in height.