History of Cherries

In Australia the first commercial cherry orchard was planted at Young in New South Wales in 1878. Young is called the "Cherry Capital of Australia" and hosts the National Cherry Festival. Young has continued to grow cherries since then and today, Young and Orange are the major cherry growing areas of Australia. However, South Australia and Tasmania also produce a lot of the cherries found in the shops today.


• A true “superfruit” – Emerging studies suggest phytonutrients found in cherries may have the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and even alleviate gout and arthritis pain.

• Antioxidant advantage – Cherries are a power-packed food loaded with anthocyanins – the antioxidants responsible for their deep red colour – and other flavonoid antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol.

• Essential nutrients – Cherries provide a good source of vitamin C and a source of potassium and fibre.



There are two main cherry species. Sweet cherries (Prunus avium L.) often sold at fresh food grocers as fresh cherries and sour cherries (Prunus cerasus L.) also known as tart cherries. In Australia sour cherries are more commonly consumed through processed products such as juices, or preserved to be later used in cooking and for making cherry brandy.

Today there are more than 50 cherry varieties grown and many more are being developed in Australia. The specific varieties available on the Australian market, such as the Merchant, Ron Seedling, Bing, Lapin, Sweetheart and Sweet Georgia, vary in colour from light to deep red and almost black. The rarer Rainier ‘white’ cherry, another sweet variety, has a beautiful creamy yellow skin with a red blush. Sour cherries, on the other hand are more commonly grown in Europe, although there are some plantations in Victoria and Tasmania. The most well known variety of sour cherry is the Morello.


Did you know?

 • The word ‘cherry’ comes from the Turkish town of Cerasus • We’re a member of the rose family • We’ve been cultivated for thousands of years • We don’t ripen after harvest • Light coloured fruit in dark coloured varieties is generally immature.


Why Cherries Are Good To Eat

 • We’re a good source of vitamin C- 125g will supply half of your daily needs • We have small quantities of other vitamins and we give you potassium to help balance the body’s intake of salt (too much salt is not good for health) • We also supply dietary fibre • We have some valuable antioxidants that help keep the body healthy and the darker our flesh, the more of these we supply. • 100g of cherries (weighed with stones) has 210kJ.


Red power

Cherries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. These belong to a large family of phytonutrients called flavonoids, linked to a variety of health benefits, and provide cherries with their deep, rich red colour.

The potential health benefits of cherries first came to light in the 1990s, when a number of studies were published describing the antioxidant content of this fruit. Spurred on by what was then anecdotal evidence that cherries alleviated the pain of arthritis and gout, researchers discovered that cherries had high antioxidant activity.


The antioxidant advantage

Free radicals are believed to be a major contributing factor in the production of fine lines and wrinkles by destroying the collagen and elastin network, which keeps our skin supple and firm. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as cherries, may help to reduce and neutralise free radicals and slow the signs of skin ageing.

Emerging research suggests that the natural compounds found in cherries may help:

• Offer protection against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

• Reduce inflammation and ease arthritis and gout pain.

• Reduce the risk of diabetes.


Emerging Areas in Cherry Research

Heart disease

A growing body of science links the anthocyanins found in cherries to heart-healthbenefits. With more than 3.67 million Australians living with some form of heart disease, the heart-healthy qualities of red pigments from plant foods have more relevance than ever!

Recent research with animals revealed that cherry-enriched diets lowered risk factors for heart disease, such as reducing total blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while slightly raising high-density lipoproteins (HDL) - the “good” cholesterol.

Bottom line: A growing body of evidence links cherries’ unique combination of phytonutrients and rich red colour, provided by the fruit’s powerful anthocyanins, to protection against heart disease.

Cancer Prevention

The science points to cherries’ rich source of phytonutrients, including anthocyanins, as the basis for their potentially protective role in some cancers.

Arthritis & Gout

Gout is a common form of arthritis characterised by recurrent attacks of pain, swelling and redness in joints. Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in the bloodstream and uric acid crystals are deposited in the joints. Around 70,000 people in Australia have this form of arthritis.

Research demonstrates that anthocyanins and other antioxidants in cherries may have a beneficial role in a range of inflammatory-related conditions, including arthritis and gout.


Not only are cherries an antioxidant powerhouse; fresh sour cherries have a low Glycemic Index (GI) score of 22, and fresh sweet cherries have an intermediate GI of 63. The GI ranks carbohydrate foods according to their effect on blood sugar levels.

Choosing low GI foods results in smaller rises in blood sugar and insulin levels. A low GI diet is suggested to be a key to long-term health, reducing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers.


Cherries have only 250 kilojoules (60 calories) per 100 grams and virtually no fat. One serve of cherries equals ½ cup dried cherries, 1 cup of fresh or frozen cherries, 1 cup cherry juice or 2 tablespoons cherry juice concentrate.


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