The Picota cherry is a much under-rated variety from the west of Spain. It is unusual because it is sold without stalks, and, as a result, is good value compared to conventional stalked varieties. It is still very good to eat, and, due to its good value is becoming very popular during its season.
Consumers will be certain to find Picota cherries to be great value, and very difficult to stop eating.
The actual variety used to produce the Picota cherry is called Ambrunes, which is grown widely in many areas of Spain. The name ‘Picota’ only applies to the cherries from the Jerte Valley, so the variety stated on labels of fruit from outside this area will be ‘Ambrunes‘ only.
Names: Picota; Ambrunes.
Origin: Picota cherries are unique to the Jerte Valley in western Spain, and are protected by a denomination of origin (DO) certificate. This verifies the fruit has been grown, harvested and packed under rigorous quality control procedures.
Grown in: Picota cherries come from a distinct area in Spain, the Jerte Valley, Extremadura – half-way between Madrid and the Portuguese border. Picota cherries are grown by around 5,000 local producers, who farm small areas of land – an average six acres for each. It is common to find three generations of the same family working on a Picota cherry farm.
Harvest & Availability: Picota cherries are available from mid-June to end-July.
Food From Spain says:
The Queen of the Jerte Valley – Aromatic and Stalk-free
The name Picota describes four different traditional cherry varieties from the Jerte Valley: Ambrunes (most of the volume), Pico Limon Negro, Pico Negro and Pico Colorado. Translated literally the Spanish word ‘Pico’ means ‘pointed’, which is reflected in the shape of the cherries.
The famous Picota cherries have two unusual characteristics that make them unique. Firstly, the incredibly intense cherry flavour. In the natural climate of the Jerte Valley they mature for twice as long as other cherries and therefore get twice as much sun to make them juicy and wonderfully sweet.
The second distinctive characteristic of Picota cherries is that they are sold without stalks. They are carefully picked when fully ripened and the stalks come away naturally without damaging the fruit. As the ripe flesh is completely surrounded by the skin, nature has created, as it were, a special flavour-protector. The missing stalk on the Picota cherry is therefore an indication of perfect ripeness.