What’s Blooming: Amarena Cherries: The Pinnacle of Fruit Luxury

Amarena Cherries

Amarena CherriesHighly sought-after by chefs and connoisseurs of all kinds, the amarena cherry is the pinnacle of fruit luxury, lending itself to a wide array of desirable culinary dishes. Not to be confused with your typical cherry or the popular maraschino cherry, the amarena cherry is molecular gastronomy at its finest, resulting in the transformation of the cherry into a sweet and slightly sour delicacy.

The Background

The human species has been indulging in the cherry, also referred to in the early ages as the stone fruit (called because of the stone seed in the middle), for several hundred years. While there are 1,000 varieties of cherry trees cultivated in America, the majority of the edible fruit derive from wild and sour cherries. Though they may not sound very appetizing by their scientific names, prunus avium, the wild cherry, and prunus cerasus, the sour cherry, both types are used in the decadent creation of amarena cherries.

Molecular Gastronomy of the Amarena Cherry

Wild and sour cherries must go through a chemical and physical transformation to achieve the amarena cherry. The dark cherries are preserved in sugar, water, stabilizers and citric acid, and then stored in an airtight container for approximately a month. The flesh of an amarena cherry is tender and firm, compared to the soggy maraschino cherry, which according to the FDA, is a cherry that has been dyed red, impregnated with sugar and packed in sugar syrup that is flavored with the oil of bitter almonds or a similar flavor.

Amarena Cherry – Endless Culinary Options

Amarena cherries can be used in a host of ways, though they’re most popular as a topping for ice cream or gelato. However, the sweet indulgence is not only limited to after-dinner delights, but has also been known to enhance more than a few hot plates. The flavor profile of many dishes can be upgraded with the use of the fruit in appetizers, semifreddo desserts, fruit salads, milkshakes, cocktails, pies, cakes, tarts, ice drinks and pastries.

As Healthy As It Is Good

Fortunately for the cherry enthusiast, the miniature bomb of flavor that is the main ingredient in the amarena cherry compote is considered a superfruit. The cherries not only offer a marvelous taste, but are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol, and a particularly good source of Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folate, magnesium and iron. They also contain a higher antioxidant capacity than grapes, oranges, plums, raspberries and strawberries combined.

The list of the cherry’s health benefits also includes emerging evidence that links the small produce to easing the pain of arthritis and gout; reducing factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers; and possibly preventing memory loss.

The amarena cherry is the ultimate companion to the expressive chef and is adored by taste buds all over the world.

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Recipezaar.com. (2009). Amarena Cherry. Retrieved January 22, 2009 www.recipezaar.com/library/amarena-cherry-891.
Whatscookingamerica.com. (2009). Sourt, Tart or “Pie” Cherries. Retrieved January 22, 009 http://whatscookingamerica.net/cherries.htm.