What Exactly Is It? A Drupe You Say?
What do you think of when you hear the word cherry? It brings to mind different connotations depending on the person, but most have wondered what these little deep red spheres actually are. Well, actually they come in golden, pink, burgundy and candy apple red these days. Is a cherry a berry or a fruit? The answer to that question is actually more interesting than one would expect, because the cherry, and a few other forms of produce, have defied clear scientific classification. The uses of the cherry have likely surpassed the dreams, even of the brave folk who carried cherry pits or perhaps seeding trees from Germany and from Spain on high seafaring ships to make a new homestead on a fertile new continent. The cherry has always been considered a aristocratic princess of an ingredient. Cherries made their way over and are guaranteed a place in the history, lore and mythology of America! Consider a few examples, the cherry tree chopped down by little Georgie Washington; the cherry pie baked in the wink of an eye, by the potential young wife of Charming Billy Boy; the cherry picking contests of midwestern communities.
The Deep, Feminine Mysteries of the Cherry
Which by any other name could not taste as sweet. Or tart? So, then, what is a cherry? The correct term for a cherry and all of the fruits that have such a shiny, waxy outer coat, a fleshy middle and a hard core or pit, is a drupe. The drupe family includes the cherry, peach, apricot, and avocado among other fruits. But if one were to classify a cherry, one would have to say that it is much more a fruit than a berry. Both a cherry and a berry are considered fruit, even though they are different enough that they can not be said to be the same thing. So, when asked is a cherry a berry or a fruit, it is possible to answer, in all confidence, that the cheery is definitely not a berry, but that it is indeed a fruit. One would then have to say that cherry is so much more than a mere fruit. From cough drops to gummi bears, cherry is the favorite flavor of the masses!
Cherry is also a designated color name. There have long been cars that were determined to be cherry red because of the brightness of the painted coat. This color is something of a burgundy that tends more toward red than purple and it has an added luster that makes it stand out even more. This is the color of some rouges and lipsticks, crayons and magic markers and the fruit for which it is named is as versatile as the color.
Cherries make a killer pie. What is better than cutting into a slice of warm, fresh cherry pie, fresh from the oven, with a flaky lattice crust and a dollop of vanilla ice cream melting on top? Black forest chocolate cake has a layer of sour cherries between each layer that give the cake its signature flavor; at once invoking the particular region of Germany from which it originated. The cake is actually supposed to be baptized with Kirsche which is a cherry liqueur made in the Black Forest area of Germany. Cherries jubilee is a desert once made famous because of the famous flaming treatment that also accompanies a true Bananas Foster. These signature deserts would be nothing if they weren't crowned with this heavenly drupe.
Frankly, it doesn't matter whether a cherry is a berry or a fruit. It's just plain heaven when you head out to that favorite cherry tree in the back yard orchard and pull off a handful of those succulent sour, sweet juicy treats and eat them fresh and unadorned. And you may not know it but a favorite German pickle begins with stem on sour cherries, sugar, salt and vineagar and ends up being called the Cherry Olive, at least that's what grandma Elsie Yusten called it! Cherry Blossom Festivals abound in Germany replete with Cherry Blossom Queens and Princesses.
The fruit has given its name or rather its name has been "taken" to denote an item that is in, well, perfect, mint, and/or original condition. Many car enthusiasts have said that a favorite ride was "cherry" because it had a thundering engine and an incredible body. And the metaphor may stretch and be carried a bit based upon it's use as a direct equivalent or symbol of virginity. Does this somehow relate back to or derive etiologically from the hymen of the female of our species. You be the judge? The word has traveled much through the English language.
So, I suppose, no matter whether it is used as a color or eaten as a fruit, cherries are to be enjoyed and savored by all. It must be time for a Cherry Coke to wash down this article.