Bake something with cherries

Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Feb 06, 2019 - 01:27 PM

Photo: “Can you bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?” February is National Cherry Month. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

“Can you bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?” February is National Cherry Month. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Think of George Washington, cherry blossoms, and spring that will soon be here

Although February, National Cherry Month, brings some heavy winter weather it also brings us one month closer to spring when blossoms appear on fruit trees. Cherry trees are among the first to bloom, but that is not how February received its national honor.

February earned its title because it honors the birthday of George Washington, the alleged chopper of the cherry tree, an event that helped to link cherries and Washington to February forever.

Among the fruit seeds sent to the settlement in Plymouth, Massachusetts, were cherry seeds, and the trees thrived. In 1847 Henderson (Luelling) Lewelling took a covered wagon loaded with fruit trees of five varieties to Oregon. Thus the cherry went west.

The principal cherry fruits grown commercially in the United States are the sour cherries (Prunus cerasus L) that make up 90 percent of all production. These are important in making cherry pie, cherry tarts, frozen fruit packs and canning. The most famous sour cherry is the Maraschino used in cherry pies, cakes, juices, jellies, ice cream and a host of other dishes. In the sweet cherry category, the Bing is the most popular, often as a fresh fruit item.