Fresh summer produce is unbeatable, and sweet cherry, with their naturally excellent flavor and limited season, are at the top of the list. This luscious fruit is best eaten straight from the hand and can be used as a simple snack or dessert. Sweet cherries come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including a few varieties that are widely seen in shops and at farmer’s markets. Some people prefer red or black cherries, such as Bing. Others may lean more towards yellow or pink cherry, such as Rainier.
The flavor of cherry is usually directly proportional to its complexion, i.e., intensity of flavor grows with the darkening shade of the cherry. It’s also important to note that while it might feel very similar, the taste does differ from one variety to another, albeit very slightly. The timeline and “seasoning” for each variety’s growth as well as the time it takes for them to ripen may differ slightly, allowing regional growers to pick cherries throughout the summer. Learn about the qualities and timing of several popular summer kinds by reading on.
Bing cherries, like many other types of sweet cherries, have a unique heart shape. As the most common commercial sweet cherry, this type is frequently the first to appear in national markets. Bing cherries are so popular in Washington State, where the majority of American cherries are cultivated that they’re used to gauge the length of other varieties’ growing seasons. That is, people take into account how many days it has been since Bings arrived in the market, to determine when other cherries might be coming, for example, three weeks before Bing arrives or two weeks after it vanishes from the market.
When mature, Bing cherries are firm, juicy, and enormous, with a hue that ranges from deep red to rich mahogany. The flavor of Bing cherries is very sweet, with a bright aftertaste.
Chelan cherries, sometimes known as “black cherries,” are grown in the Pacific Northwest and become ripe two weeks earlier than Bing cherries (mid-June). The texture of this spherical sweet cherry is solid, and the flavor is modest. Chelan cherries have a deep mahogany color and a sweet flavor similar to Bing cherries. Because this kind is less prone to rain cracking, it has a longer shelf life than its counterpart.
Lapins cherry is a crossbreed between the Vans and Stella kinds. This resulted in a relatively hardy breed of cherries that can grow as large as an inch in diameter, has a deep red color, and is sweet and tasty. If we go by the “timeline” set by Bing, Lapins’ ripening is also calculated with “Bing” as the reference. In its case, the time to ripen is after Bing, usually around 14 days (two weeks). The problem is that it’s only accessible for a relatively short time (between late spring and early summer) so you need to take advantage of that relatively short timeframe.
A center tan pit is likewise encased in the flesh, which does not adhere and is readily removed. When fully mature, Lapins cherries have a luscious consistency with low acidity and a gentle, sweet, and fruity flavor. Cherry trees provide evergreen leaves and little white or pink blossoms from late spring to early summer, in addition to the fruits.
Rainier cherries are one of the most beloved sweet cherries in the industry. These two-toned cherries are yellow on the interior and exterior, with a trace of red blush. They have a mild, sweet flavor with a bit of sharpness. Rainier cherries, named after Mount Rainier, Washington’s highest peak, mature shortly after Bing in June and are often available until August for those who are lucky enough to find them locally.
Tulare cherries are tarter than other sweet cherry kinds, yet they have the same dark red color as the Bing and Chelan variety. They’re ideal for those who prefer their fruit to have a tart aftertaste. Tulare cherries are a second-generation seedling of the Bing cherry that grows in California and ripens one week earlier than its near relative.
Lambert cherries are huge and uniformly bright red in color. They’re sweet enough to eat right out of the bag, but they’re also perfect for baking because they keep their texture. From mid-June until early August, Lambert cherries are available for the majority of the summer.