my parents' former abode was situated right on the corner of what was rather laughingly referred to as a crescent. this meant that though the front garden was commendably compact and bijou, the garden to the rear was a heck of a lot larger. when we moved there in the early 1960s, the previous owners left us with two cooking apple trees, one eating apple tree, gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes, fresh mint, a crab apple tree, raspberry bushes, a pear tree and a cherry tree.
all of those were more than welcome come summertime when we could eat fresh apples every day, apple crumbles and pies were never in short supply and nor was raspberry and blackcurrant jam, gooseberry crumble, crab apple jelly and one or two less than savoury pears, a fruit that steadfastly remained chough; a good scots' word meaning, in this case, hard and unpalatable. but what of the cherries, i hear you less than interested to learn? well since you could obviously care less, i'll tell you anyway.
the cherries only ever got to the point of turning a pale yellow before the birds nicked the lot. in the 21 years i lived in the house, i only recall picking a single red(ish) example which tasted rather tart if truth be known. to be honest, i was rather expecting it to taste similar to the glacé cherries my mother used for baking. i rather liked them. but in point of fact, the taste of the cherries on our tree remained somewhat academic, since we never managed to harvest anything like a significant number that would have provided any of the benefits in perhaps a cherry pie.
it is possible, recalling its sour taste, that we owned a montmorency cherry tree, currently the most popular sour cherry in north america and the principal constituent in american cherry pies as well as in jams and preserves. it also appears that the montmorency cherry has a myriad of benefits other than filling the gap between two layers of pastry. major research carried out by a number of british and american universities have bestowed healing properties upon this large, bright red fruit including the ability to fend off the worst symptoms of arthritis and insomnia, an aid to exercise recovery plus ownership of masses of antioxidants.
almost hard to believe in a fruit so relatively small.
but apart from fruit pies and jams, montmorency cherries are often presented in concentrated form such as that offered by cherryactive in their shot packs. these easy to open sachets, similar in style to energy gels, contain concentrated cherry juice that can be added to water, providing a surprisingly pleasant drink both on and off the bike. despite their tart reputation, little of that comes across in drink format, particularly if, as any self-respecting cyclist would, you add it to a glass of san pellegrino.
as with many gels and energy drinks, we pretty much have to take the manufacturer's claims at face value. there is no scientific way i could honestly tell you that my cherry active inflected glass of san pellegrino had me recovering any more quickly or better than consumption of a straightforward glass of the fizzy stuff. or any other recovery product for that matter. however, i still maintain that, no matter the professed benefits, if it doesn't taste good, neither you nor i are likely to ingest enough of it to be of benefit in the first place.
the slightly tart taste is, to my palette at least, preferable to many of the sickly sweet alternatives. so much so, in fact, that i rather look forward to that glass of fizzy montmorencies after 70 or 80 kilometres in the saddle. one cherryactive 30ml shot costs £1.79, but on the basis that you're unlikely to order just one, the cost becomes progressively cheaper the more you purchase. for instance, order six dozen, and the price reduces to £1.50 each.
sunday 22 march 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................