The cherry holds a special place among temperate fruits. Sweet cherries (Primus avium L.) and sour cherries (Primus avium L.) are the two major types of cultivated cherries (Prunus cerasus L.). The cultivation of sweet cherry on a commercial scale has begun in Kashmir Valley.
Cherries are native to Southeast Europe and Asia Minor, as well as northern India and China in the east. The sweet cherry is thought to have originated somewhere between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, but it was brought to Europe by birds in ancient times.
Sour cherries come in a variety of shapes and sizes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union’s western regions. According to historical records, cherry was first domesticated around 300 B.C. in Greece. By 37 BC, it had spread to Italy and had developed itself as a fruit crop.
It had spread to England, Germany, Belgium, and Portugal by the time of Christ. Early settlers brought cherry seeds to North America, which gradually spread to the northern and southern parts of South America.
Cultivated cherry fruit production is estimated to be around 2.2 million tonnes worldwide. Europe accounts for 40% of global demand. Turkey, the United States, Iran, Italy, Spain, Austria, Uzbekistan, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries produce the most cherries.
In India, cherry cultivation is limited to Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and hilly Uttarakhand. Jammu and Kashmir is the state where most cherries are grown. This state has a total area of 3500 hectares and produces 10880 metric tons per year. This state accounts for 70% of India’s total cherry production. In Himachal Pradesh, 500 hectares of cherry orchards produce 900 metric tons of fruit per year. Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba, Kinnaur, and Lahual-higher Spiti’s elevations have proven to be suitable for cherry cultivation.
Cherries are high in protein, sugars, carotene, and folic acid, among other nutrients. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc are all abundant in its berries. Per 100 g of edible fruit, cherries have 83.7 percent water, 1.2 percent protein, 0.2 percent fat, 3.7 percent fructose, 4.9 percent glucose, 280 mg potassium, 30 mg calcium, 12 mg magnesium, 0.4 mg iron, 18 mg vitamin C, and 747 I.U carotene.
The sweet cherry is primarily used for table use, but it is also used in canned fruit cocktails, bakery, confectionery, ice cream, juice production, fruit salads, and liquor distillation. The sour cherry is mostly used in manufacturing. The sour cherry wine is extremely popular. Canning, freezing, and sun drying are used to preserve the fruits to a large extent. Cherry juice can be made from both fresh and frozen fruits.
The sensitivity of different sweet cherry cultivars to cracking varies. Cultivars with a fast rate of absorption and a low capacity for expansion crack easily, while cultivars with a slow rate of absorption and a high capacity for expansion are generally resistant. The amount of cracking is reduced by any procedure that reduces the rate of water absorption or increases the ability of the fruit tissues to stretch without rupturing.