Royal Ansel Cherries
Inventory, lb : 0
|Food Buzz: History of Cherries|
Royal Ansel cherries are a large varietal, averaging 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to cordate shape with broad, curved shoulders, slightly tapering to a rounded base. The fruit’s skin is semi-thick, glossy, smooth, and taut, showcasing bright to dark red hues and an indented suture line extending from the stem to the base. Royal Ansel cherries also produce a fibrous and elongated, narrow green stem. Underneath the surface, the flesh is aqueous, bright red, firm, and low in fibers, creating a tender, crisp consistency. The fruits also contain a central pit that clings to the flesh. Royal Ansel cherries are sweet, averaging around 18 Brix, which is a measurement of sugar levels, and are balanced with low acidity to create a pleasing, sweet, and tangy taste.
Royal Ansel cherries are available for a short season in the late spring.
Royal Ansel cherries, botanically classified as Prunus avium, are an early-season variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The sweet cherry cultivar grows on large trees that can reach four meters in height and are one of the earliest maturing varieties, arriving in markets in the middle of May, approximately 10 to 14 days before bing cherries. Royal Ansel cherries are also known as Royal Bailey cherries and are favored by commercial growers and home gardeners for the tree’s productive nature, producing a large crop of early-maturing fruits with improved disease resistance, quality flavor, texture, and ability to be shipped without damage. The plump fruits are primarily cultivated for fresh eating, but their balanced flavor also makes them suitable for various sweet and savory, cooked preparations.
Royal Ansel cherries contain anthocyanins, the red and purple pigments found within the skin and flesh that contain antioxidant-like properties to reduce inflammation and protect the cells against free radical damage. The fruits are also a source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and other amounts of iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Royal Ansel cherries are large and sweet, making them well suited for fresh eating. The fruits can be consumed straight, out of hand, discarding the pit, or they can be sliced and tossed into green salads, fruit salads, and acai bowls. Royal Ansel cherries can also be blended into smoothies, juiced for lemonade and fruit punches, halved and served on appetizer platters, or used as edible decorations on ice cream, cakes, pies, and tarts. In addition to fresh preparations, the fruit’s firm flesh is sometimes used for baked goods, including scones, muffins, pies, cobblers, and bread, or the cherries can be incorporated into jams, jellies, compotes, syrups, and sauces. Beyond sweet preparations, Royal Ansel cherries can be served with savory meat dishes. The fruits are frequently stuffed or rolled with spices into poultry, pork, or duck, or they can be infused into marinades, barbeque sauces, or chutney. The cherries can also be preserved in maraschino liqueur or brandy for cocktails and desserts. Royal Ansel cherries pair well with salty and creamy cheeses such as burrata, brie, feta, blue, and mascarpone, fruits including blackberries, blueberries, apricots, and peaches, dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and pine, and herbs such as basil, thyme, and tarragon. Whole, unwashed Royal Ansel cherries will keep up to one week when stored between paper towels in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The cherries can also be frozen for extended use.
Zaiger Genetics has developed many famous varieties of stone fruits that are commercially sold in markets worldwide. The company has been granted over 446 patents since its establishment in the mid 20th century, and the breeding facility is rumored to contain 2,000 trees that are used for natural crossings. Floyd Zaiger, the founder of Zaiger Genetics, was originally a high school teacher with a degree in plant pathology and agricultural education. Zaiger also worked several years under fruit breeder Fred Anderson, and in 1954, he purchased a nursery began breeding new stone fruits. Royal Ansel cherries were developed as a part of a royal series of fruits at Zaiger Genetics. These cherries were created to better adapt to California’s changing climate. Zaiger breeders believed that the sunshine state is growing warmer, causing some growers to struggle with cultivating cherries that need extended chilling hours. Several other cherry varieties are found within the royal cherry series, including Helen, Edie, Brynn, Rainier, Tenaya, Elaine, and Lee, and many of these cultivars have been developed with low chilling requirements, varying flavors, and unique appearances.
Royal Ansel cherries were developed by Zaiger Genetics, a breeding company based in Modesto, California. The variety is believed to be an open-pollinated cross between minnie royal and royal dawn cherries and was initially studied and researched in the company’s experimental orchard. The first Royal Ansel cherries were developed from a grafting on mahaleb rootstock for faster fruit production, and breeders selected the fruits in 2003 for commercial cultivation. Royal Ansel cherries were registered for a patent in 2009, and the patent was granted in 2011 under the U.S. Plant Patent No. 21835. Today Royal Ansel cherries are primarily grown through specialty farms and as a home garden cultivar. When in season, the cherries can be found through distributors, farmer’s markets, and select grocers in California and the Pacific Northwest.
Recipes that include Royal Ansel Cherries. One is easiest, three is harder.
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