We recently stumbled into cherry trees on our walks and used Alys Fowlers book ‘The Thrifty Forager’ to identify them as Prunus Avium. She mentions that these trees were often ‘planted in the 70’s as cheap trees for housing estates.’ And while we’ve found an abundance of them most long term residents of the area don’t even seem to know they are good to eat!
We also found their more bitter relative Prunus Padmus (the bird cherry) which look similar. I wonder if this led to the confusion between whether or not they edible. People are walking past the trees (and us) don’t even glance while we are rapturously celebrating such a bounty of free fruit grown free and wild and given to us directly from nature, not via a supermarket wrapped in plastic!
Or is this disinterest a sign of nature disconnect that most people just are not in relationship with the trees they walk past daily?
Today we went past a house with a tree in their front yard LADEN with unpicked ripe cherries. I know it’s not the ‘done’ thing to knock on a stranger’s door but in the spirit of connecting people with nature I feel compelled to pay a visit to make sure they at least know that it’s edible. Would you?
Found out this evening on the great Wikipedia that this ‘wild cherry’ aka ‘sweet cherry’ has a very long history. “Wild cherries have been an item of human food for several thousands of years. The stones have been found in deposits at Bronze Age settlements throughout Europe, including in Britain. In one dated example, wild cherry macrofossils were found…beneath a dwelling at an Early and Middle Bronze Age site on and near the southern shore of Lake Garda, Italy. The date is estimated to 2077 BCE’
Missouri Botanical Gardens note that ‘Although it is a parent of many of the sweet cherry cultivars sold in commerce today for fruit production…its fruits are smaller and not as sweet or tasty as the cultivars.’ (A win when looking for non or not-overly domesticated foods)
We are so grateful to be nourishing our body with this SEASONAL, LOCAL, WILD fruit that is filled with nutrition along with the flavour Summer Solstice Sunshine, freedom and wildness.