Monday, May 30, 2011

DID YOU KNOW: Utah's State Fruit

DID YOU KNOW that Utah had a State Fruit? I didn't!

The Utah State Fruit is the Cherry.

WHY is Utah's State Fruit the cherry?
House Bill HB33, which designated the cherry as the official state fruit in 1997, was sponsored by Rep. Fred Hunsanker, R-Logan; the 2nd graders at Millville Elementary School in Millville, Utah were responsible for presenting the new state fruit (Utah Code). 

The Millville Elementary School children selected fruit as their choice to support as a new state symbol and chose the apple, peach, and cherry as candidates. After compiling some basic information concerning each of these fruits and their economic impact upon Utah and polling elementary schools throughout the state, the cherry came out the strong leader. (The school children are to thank for compiling the list of information on cherries found below.)

Facts About Cherries:

  • There are red, black and yellow cherries
  • Both sweet and sour (tart or pie) cherries are grown in Utah
  • Utah is the second largest tart cherry producing state in the nation and fifth in the nation in the production of sweet cherries. No other state ranks in the top five in both categories.
  • About 2 billion cherries are harvested yearly and approx. 4,800 acres of agricultural land is used for cherry production.
  • Another interesting fact, submitted to the Millville Elementary School children, is that cherry trees were sent to Utah by the Japanese following World War II. They surround the capitol building in Salt Lake City. The cherry tree is a symbol of friendship to the Japanese.
  • The Cherry fruit is part of the Rosaceae family and this also includes almonds, peaches, apricots and plums.
  • It is believed that the Romans discovered the sweet cherry fruit in the Asia Minor in about 70 BC. They then introduced them in the first century AD to Britain.
  • Cherries are very easily perishable and they rarely ripen after harvest. Therefore, you need to refrigerate them soon after their purchase. These can remain fresh in the fridge for at least 2 days.
  • Studies have shown the cherry fruit to have plenty of health benefits. These are known to provide pain relief for people who suffer from arthritis. It is said that eating 20 tart cherries in a day can prove to fight inflammation effectively.
  • Red cherries are also very high in melatonin. These are known to destroy the toxins that cause diseases. The cherry fruit is also high in antioxidants that help to fight cancer and heart disease
  • The cherry fruits are low in cholesterol, fat and sodium. They are also a very good source of fiber and Vitamin C.
  • Tart cherries and tart cherry juice are known to reduce the urate levels in the body. These are also known to reduce muscle pain and back pain. The benefits of tart cherries are also found even if they are frozen, in the form of juice or canned. Sweet cherries as well as tart cherries have very high levels of anthocyanins. This is the red pigment in the cherries, which helps to reduce the inflammation.
  • The cherry fruit extract contains antioxidant flavanoids and are used in many tablets and capsules. These capsules are used to support the pH levels of the body.

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