The Montmorency cherry is a variety of sour cherry (Prunus cerasus) grown in the United States, Canada and France, particularly in Michigan and in Door County, Wisconsin. Montmorency cherries are part of the lighter-red Amarelle cultivar of sour cherries, rather than the darker-red Morello cultivar. Michigan produces over 90,000 tons of Montmorency cherries each year.
The history of the Montmorency tart cherry extends back to ancient Rome. The Romans are credited to discovering this tiny red fruit along the Black Sea in Asia Minor. After Roman legionnaires discovered the tart cherries, they carried them with them and introduced them to the rest of Roman territory. They planted cherry trees alongside Roman roads and soldiers used the fruit for food and the wood to build weapons and repair equipment.
The tree produces large, light red fruit (although some trees produce a darker red fruit) and has been cultivated in the United States since at least the early 20th century. It is the most popular sour cherry in the United States and Canada, and is extensively used in cherry pies, as well as in jams and preserves.
Montmorency cherries are also marketed in dried form, and Montmorency cherry juice and juice concentrate are also sold.
Since the early 21st century, the Montmorency cherry has been promoted as a healthful food, due to several purported health benefits.
Due to the high ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) values of Montmorency cherry, the powdered fruit extracts are also placed in capsules as organic health supplement/vitamins.
- Spring Is No Bowl of Cherries for Michigan Growers, Wall Street Journal, Matthew Dolan, June 1, 2012
- "The History of the Tart Cherry". Traverse Bay Farms.
- "Cherry, Montmorency Prunus cerasus". Arbor Day Foundation.
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