Bradbourne Black Cherries
Inventory, lb : 0
Bradbourne Black cherries are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 2.5 to 3 centimeters in diameter, and have a cordate shape with broad shoulders tapering to a slightly pointed or curved base. The cherries are connected to short, green, fibrous stalks extending 3.5 to 4 centimeters in length and the fruit's skin is taut, glossy, and smooth, showcasing dark purple-red, almost black hues. Underneath the surface, the flesh is dense, aqueous, and semi-firm with a succulent, chewy consistency. The flesh also encases a central light brown oval stone. Bradbourne Black cherries have a rich, initially sweet-tart flavor transitioning into a tangy, lingering sweetness.
Bradbourne Black cherries are available in the summer, typically ripening mid to late July.
Bradbourne Black cherries, botanically classified as Prunus avium, are a late-season variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The pigmented fruits are a type of black cherry that was widespread in cultivation in English gardens in the early 20th century. Bradbourne Black cherries were considered a premium variety during their height of popularity, as the cherries were larger than other varieties, fleshier, and had a rich, sweet-tart flavor. The cultivar was favored in England as a fresh eating cherry, and it was also used in various cooked preparations. Over time, Bradbourne Black cherries faded into obscurity due to the influx of other modern cherry varieties grown throughout Europe.
Bradbourne Black cherries, like other black cherry varieties, are a source of potassium to balance fluid levels, calcium and phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth, vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, and fiber to regulate the digestive tract. The cherries also contain vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, vitamin K to assist in faster wound healing, magnesium to control optimal muscle and nerve functioning, and other nutrients, including iron, manganese, copper, and B vitamins. The pigmented flesh and juice signify the presence of anthocyanins, natural compounds that give the cherries their dark red coloring. Anthocyanins have antioxidant-like properties that reduce inflammation within the body and protect the cells against free radical damage.
Bradbourne Black cherries have a sweet, tart, and tangy flavor suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The cherries are traditionally consumed straight out of hand and were a favored variety in the early 20th century for their fleshy, juicy consistency. Bradbourne Black cherries can also be tossed into salads, mixed into fruit bowls, used as a fresh topping over yogurt, or blended into smoothies and other beverages. It is important to note that the pigmented cherries have juice that can stain clothing and other fabrics. Caution should be taken when preparing the fruits to prevent permanent staining. Bradbourne Black cherries can also be incorporated into baked goods, including crisps, pies, tarts, scones, and clafoutis, or they can be simmered into jams, jellies, and syrups, later drizzled over ice cream, used as fillings for turnovers, or spread over toast. Try blending and freezing the cherries into refreshing popsicles, sorbet, or granitas. Bradbourne Black cherries pair well with herbs such as sage, cilantro, basil, mint, and thyme, vanilla, chocolate, maple syrup, spices including ginger, cloves, and allspice, and nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Whole, unwashed cherries are highly perishable and will only keep for a few days in the refrigerator. It is recommended to consume the fruits immediately for the best quality and flavor.
Bradbourne Black cherries are named after the Bradbourne House in East Malling, Kent, England. The Bradbourne House was the home of the Twisden family since the 1650s and was passed down between familial generations for around 400 years. Legend has it that Bradbourne Black cherries were discovered growing in the orchards on the 20 acres of land surrounding the Bradbourne House and were discovered sometime before the 1920s. The Bradbourne House was owned by the Twisden family until 1937, when owner John Ramskill Twisden passed away without an heir. The East Malling Trust purchased the house and land in 1938, and today the estate has expanded to include 500 acres, reconstructed to house a research center with gardens, orchards, and an event space. One of the more notable gardens on the property is the Hatton Fruit Garden, named after horticulturist Sir Ronald Hatton. Hatton spent many years sorting and classifying various fruit rootstocks that had previously been mislabeled and became famous worldwide for his classification work.
Bradbourne Black cherries were thought by experts to have been discovered in Kent, England. Much of the history of this variety is unknown, but a few records point to the variety being grown in the orchards at the Bradbourne House, a family home in East Malling, Kent. The variety was thought to have been commercially known by the 1920s, and by the late 1930s, it was being grown in various parts of southern England. Bradbourne Black cherries were initially considered a premium variety, but as newer, modern cultivars were introduced into markets along with imported cherry varieties, the black cherries were replaced, falling into obscurity. Today Bradbourne Black cherries are a rare variety primarily grown in preservation gardens in England. They are also occasionally planted as a novel variety in gardens of historical cherry enthusiasts. The Bradbourne Black cherries featured in the photograph above were sourced from the National Cherry Collection at Brogdale Farm in Faversham, England.