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Belle Magnifique Cherries
Inventory, 5 lbs : 0
Belle Magnifique cherries are larger than common cherries, averaging 2-3 centimeters in diameter, and are oblate to round in shape with a slight depression around the slender, green stem. The skin is glossy, smooth, and taut, ripening from pale to bright red, and the elongated stems average 2-10 centimeters in length. Underneath the skin, the flesh is aqueous, yellow-red, and soft, encasing an oval, cream-colored stone. Belle Magnifique cherries have a crisp and fine-grained consistency with a sweet and mildly acidic flavor.
Belle Magnifique cherries are available in the late spring through summer.
Belle Magnifique cherries, botanically a member of the Prunus family, are an heirloom variety that is believed to be developed from a hybrid duke cherry. Known for its sweet-tart flavor, Belle Magnifique cherries were once a popular variety, but have been largely forgotten due to their lack of commercial cultivation. The late-ripening trees produce a large amount of fruit, but the cherries mature at different times preventing it from being harvested quickly, and as a result, they have been overlooked as a mainstream, commercial variety. Today Belle Magnifique cherries are a specialty variety grown by small farms and home gardeners.
Belle Magnifique cherries contain potassium, anthocyanins, vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
Belle Magnifique cherries have a sweet-tart flavor that is popularly consumed fresh, out-of-hand. The fruits are also utilized in cooked applications and made into chutney or jams, tossed into salads, chopped into salsa, or used as a marinade for ribs. In addition to savory dishes, Belle Magnifique cherries can be used in desserts such as pudding, cakes, tarts, pies, and ice cream. Belle Magnifique cherries pair well with blueberries, peaches, watermelon, microgreens, cucumbers, meats such as beef, poultry, and pork, feta cheese, and peanuts. The fruits will keep 4-10 days when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Belle Magnifique cherries are a French heirloom variety that has been largely overshadowed by newer varieties, but some specialty farms are working to prevent the disappearance of these old-fashioned fruits. Andy’s Orchard in Morgan Hill, California, is committed to growing heirloom varieties, such as the Belle Magnifique cherry, to bring awareness to the once beloved cherry. Belle Magnifique cherries are also promoted by being recorded on the list of the American Pomological Society, which is the oldest fruit organization in North America, and have been listed since 1852.
While the exact origins of Belle Magnifique cherries are unknown, they were first recorded in 1795 in Paris, France. The cherries were then brought to the United States in the early 1800s by General H.A.S. Dearborn who was the President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Today Belle Magnifique cherries are a rare variety found at select farmers markets and through specialty grocers in the United States and Europe.