I love cherries. They are probably my favorite fruit, although they run a close race with watermelon. While shopping the other day I saw some lovely cherries, and for a great price too! I couldn’t pass that up.
When I got home I opened my bag to wash my ruby red gems. Then I started to notice something interesting…my bag was loaded with cherry twins. That is my name for double cherries. Sure, you usually will get a few in a bag sometimes, but I had almost 20! What?!
Was nature mooning me with those plump, round orbs? Was I just lucky to see nature create art in its primitive way? According to an article I found online at Good Fruit Grower Magazine double cherries occur when the crop gets too much heat.
Cherry doubling is a sporadic problem but one that costs the Pacific Northwest cherry industry millions of dollars when it happens.
Doubled cherries, which are usually treated as culls, form when the flower buds are damaged by excessive summer heat.
Tim Smith, Washington State University Extension educator for north central Washington, told growers during Stone Fruit Day that misinformation has been circulated about doubling. It is not caused by chemical sprays, such as dimethoate, after harvest. “It absolutely, positively, is not,” he stressed.
When flower buds for the following year are developing, excessive heat can cause the ovule to double, resulting in a double cherry or a spur, where one side of the fruit is aborted.
The doubling can be seen in the spring, as soon as the fruit starts to develop, but by that time it is almost a year since the damage was done, Smith said.
And I always thought it meant I was lucky to get double cherries. Who knew it could cost the cherry industry millions of dollars?! They still taste just as good to me. In fact, they taste twice as good!