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British cherries: Ripe for revival

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To celebrate the throes of cherry-picking season we have four delightful British cherry desserts. Traditional cherry orchards were phased out in the Sixties and by 2004 there were just a pitiful 960 acres of orchards left in the UK. But thanks to modern techniques and the increased support of consumers and supermarkets, the British cherry is back – and it's bigger, juicier and tastier than ever. 


Thankfully the period of dwindling cherry production is over and this flavoursome fruit is enjoying a revolution. Nick Marston, on behalf of Britain's cherry farmers commented, "This is an exciting time to be a British cherry grower, it is a story of recovered hope after decades of decline". Long gone are the days of towering trees and wobbly picking ladders: nowadays British cherries are typically grown on dwarf-trees and often in plastic tunnels. This is good news for home gardeners – even the smallest garden should accommodate a dinky dwarf tree.


Cherries have pleased our palates for centuries. It is believed that the stony fruits arrived in Britain in the first century AD. Legend has it that you can trace the route of old Roman Roads in Britain by looking out for wild cherry trees. Storytellers insist Roman legions spat the stones from the fruit as they marched. Blink and you'll miss the British cherry season – picking only takes place during the height of summer from late June until September – so get your hands on a punnet pronto! Incorporate their juicy goodness into your summer desserts:

Cherry Brandy and Chocolate Mousse

White Chocolate and Cherry Cheesecake

Caramelised Cherry and Amaretti Semifreddo

Flaming Cherry Jubilee