Cherries for Christmas

Christmas is known for cherry season, but here in the subtropics we cannot grow cherries.

In our walk around our garden today we discovered a delightful abundance of cherries - cherry tomatoes and suptropical cherries (Grumichama) - otherwise known as Spanish or Brazilian Cherries.

Grumichama (Eugenia brasiliensis) is a beautiful ornamental tree with glossy dark green leaves. It can grow to 20m in height, but I think it's best to keep it trimmed as a shrub to make harvesting the fruits easier. Originally from Brazil (as the Latin name suggests), Grumichama makes a great hedge. In my experience it has never had any pest problems. It produces an abundance of beautiful dark red shiny fruits on a little stalk with a seed inside that taste so much like cherries. I love them fresh, but you can also make jams and pies from them.

I don't buy cherries, even though I love them, because of the chemicals and food miles. With Grumichamas in the garden, there's really no need to. These amazing fruits ripen at just the right time to replace cherries.

According to Whats On My Food (which uses data from the US Department of Agriculture), Cherries have 42 pesticide residues. Surprisingly cherry tomatoes have 69 pesticide residues. This I do not understand because cherry tomatoes are the easiest tomatoes to grow - actually I don't grow them, they grow themselves. They are one of my many garden volunteers which I welcome enthusiastically every year.

It seems impossible to find out what pesticide residues are being consumed in Australia. I've been searching for Australian data on the chemical residues on cherries to no avail.  I'll keep searching, but in the meantime, I'm delighted to keep eating my Grumichamas.  They grow easily from seed, so if you find a plant - eat the fruit and stick the seed in your pocket.  The seed should be viable for a week or two.Take it home and plant in a pot.

I always wear clothes with pockets and end up with seeds and cutting of all types of interesting things on my outings. Last week I found cape gooseberries and cotton!

Today's abundance: Grumichamma (tropical cherry) and Cherry tomatoes

Grumichamma - a great tropical alternative to cherries

Reference: Pesticides, Food and You, Friends of the Earth 2012

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