If, like us, you appreciate all the different ways to enjoy cherries, from freshly picked to jams and pies, then you may be wondering what the different types of cherries are and how to tell them apart.
It may not surprise you to find out that there are many cherry varieties, and each tends to have unique characteristics and purposes. Find out all you need to know with our list of different types of cherries.
What Kind Of Fruits Are Cherries?
First of all - what kind of fruits are cherries?
There is a common misconception that cherries fall under the berry family. In actual fact, cherries are stone fruits. Stone fruits get their name from the stone found inside the flesh. Cherries are actually the first stone fruit to make an appearance in spring.
How Many Types Of Cherries Are There ?
It may surprise you to find out there are actually over 1,000 types of cherries grown here in the United States! Most of these fall into one of two categories of cherry - sweet or sour (tart).
Sweet Cherries Vs Sour Cherries…
Whether a sweet cherry or sour cherry is right for you is largely down to what you want to use it for.
If you’re looking for freshly picked cherries to eat, then it’s the sweet variety you should obtain. Due to the delightfully sweet taste, these cherries can be eaten fresh off the stem. It’s for this reason that they are also the type of cherry to be found at grocery stores too.
However, if you are looking to cook or bake cherry-based goods, then it's the sour/ tart cherry that you require. As the name suggests, these are too tart to be eaten fresh, however, make the perfect product to cook with, whether it's a pie, preserve, or something else!
Sour cherries are often found in tins or frozen due to their inability to travel as well as a sweet cherry. Stuck for sour cherries? Fear not. Sweet cherries can also be used in cooking as a substitute for their sour counterparts but will tend to require the addition of acids (such as vinegar) in order to help balance out their sweet qualities.
Types Of Sweet Cherries
The sweet cherry variety is characterized by its sweet flavor (as the name suggests) and often its dark red color. As a general rule of thumb, the darker the cherry, the sweeter the taste.
It is thought that sweet cherries originated in the region between the Black and the Caspian Seas. However, nowadays it is widely produced in North America as well as Eastern Europe. The sweet cherry season tends to fall from mid-May to mid-September in the Northern Hemisphere.
Often considered the most popular kind of cherry, you’ve more than likely heard of the Bing cherry before!
Although the Bing cherry can be commonly found, there is nothing common about its distinctive and deliciously sweet flavor.
Bing cherries are a deep red color, often ranging between maroon and dark red. Like most sweet cherry types, the darker the skin, the sweeter you can expect the Bing to be.
Bings tend to be around 2mm in diameter, have a round shape and glossy skin. Another key way to identify a Bing is the red flesh inside the cherry, especially around the stem.
Bing cherries are often recognized for their antioxidant content and inflammatory compounds… and they are just two of the many health benefits of cherries!
In California, Bing cherries are considered a fresh market type of cherry. It’s no surprise really, at Blooms we experience firsthand how the delightfully sweet Bing cherries are with flavors that linger on the palate.
Where to buy Bing Cherries?
Although, are not currently in season, be sure to check out our proudly grown Bing cherries ahead of the next season.
Lapin cherries are another dark red variety, however, they are rare and elusive than the Bing cherry. Lapins only grow for a shorter period of time, but it's definitely worth the wait!
Lapins have a firm texture and flavourful aroma, being juicy and sweet. Their skin tends to be dark red and they are large and firm types of cherries.
These cherries are considered a high-quality variety. Their outer skin color ranges from dark red to nearly black, and their firmness means they are unlikely to split open.
Lapin cherries are versatile and can be used in a range of ways. They can be preserved, juiced, dried as well as eaten fresh or accompanied by cheeses, smoked meats, and more for a satisfying meal.
Where To Buy Lapin Cherries?
Lapins are only available for a short amount of time, so be sure to check our Blooms grown Lapin cherries to discover when they’re next in season.
Differing slightly from other kinds of cherries, Rainiers are easy to identify thanks to their yellow skin with a slight pink blush. Distinctive and delicious, Rainier cherries are slightly sweeter than Bing cherries. They also have an almost creamy taste, making them a mouth-watering addition to salads!
Rainier cherries are named after the highest peak in Washington DC (Mt Ranier of course!). Due to their unique qualities, Rainiers grow for a shorter period of time and are considered a premium cherry. However, once you try a Rainier it will be clear to see why these can tend to be slightly more expensive. A truly delicious cherry experience!
Where To Buy Rainier Cherries?
Although currently not in season, keep updated with our Rainier cherries to ensure you secure yourself some when available!
Do you like your fruit with a fresh zing? Then Tulare is the right type of cherry for you!
Often referred to as Bing’s cousin, Tulare cherries are one of the most common types of cherries to be found in the United States. Tulare cherries have a darker skin that is deep red in color. They are often heart-shaped and can seem a little soft when compared with the Bing (although they are actually quite firm!).
Tulare cherries are great for those who prefer their cherries a little more savory. Although it is a variety of sweet cherries, Tulares tend to be on the tart side of sweet. They tend to be medium to large in size and have plenty of juiciness.
Where To Buy Tulare Cherries?
If you like your cherries more savoury, be sure to check back on our Blooms grown Tulare Cherries to find out when they are next in season.
If you like Bing cherries then you will love the sweet flavor of Coral Champagnes...
The Coral Champagne cherry is now one of the top three different kinds of cherries exported from California. This is further interesting considering no one quite knows the origin of this beautiful cherry.
Coral Champagne cherries are a treat to the senses. With their deep coral outer skin and deep red flesh, they are characterized by their sweet and juicy flavor which is low in acidic qualities.
These cherries are large, firm, and bursting with flavor!
Where To Buy Coral Champagne Cherries?
Stay up to date with our freshly grown Coral Champagne cherries to see when you can get your hands on some next season.
The Sweetheart™ cherry was first developed in British Columbia and they’re known for their super sweet flavor with a hint of tart.
Sweetheart™ cherries are instantly recognizable as heart-shaped cherries, and their other characteristics include their large, bright red exterior that is also firm. This mildly tart cherry grows later in the cherry season.
Where To Buy Sweetheart™ Cherries?
These cherries are late bloomers, so be sure to check out our freshly produced Sweetheart™ next season before the harvest is complete!
Skeena™ cherries also were developed in British Columbia and help extend the cherry season into early August. They ripen later than most other cherry types, which is great news for cherry lovers!
The Skeena™ cherry is distinguished by its kidney shape. The cherries are large and very firm with skin so dark red it can be almost black. Skeena™ cherries have bright red flesh and a lovely sweet taste.
Where To Buy Skeena™ Cherries?
Keep up to date with our Skeena™ cherries to find out when they’re in season next.
Sour Cherry Varieties
Sour cherries (also called tart cherries) are often inedible in their raw form. Due to their tart flavor, they need to be cooking in order to bring out their full flavor. Their distinguishing tart flavor is due to their high acidic content.
Sour cherries often tend to be smaller than sweet cherries. Whereas most sweet cherries tend to be dark red in color, sour cherries fall into two categories: Amarelle-type cherries - yellow flesh and white juice Morello-type cherries - red flesh and red juice.
You may recognize Morello cherries as the type of cherry usually found in a jar. Morello cherries are known for their bitter and sour taste, meaning they cannot be eaten raw, yet are often a kitchen staple, to be consumed in syrup form or candied. Using Morello cherries when baking can mean you have yourself a delectable filling for a pie or mouthwatering cherry sauce.
Montmorency are some of the most popular types of sour cherries due to their overwhelming versatility. They are often found in health juices and baked goods.
Montmorency cherries are medium to large and have a round shape. Their skin is bright red and inside is yellow flesh. Their flavor is very tart and quite acidic.
Early Richmonds are Amarelle-types of cherries, with pale red skin and yellow-colored flesh. They are a touch acidic and are highly regarded as a cherry of excellent quality, often used in the making of pies and sauces.
Early Richmond cherries tend to bloom in mid-May but are not ready to be harvested until late June at the earliest.
Now that you know the difference between sweet and sour cherries, as well the different types of cherry varieties, head over to our top cherry recipes to discover creative ways to enjoy your cherries!