There are nearly 1,000 different types of cherries in the United States, each having its own distinct flavor. But with so many choices, how do you decide which one is best for you? Luckily, we're here to break down five of the most popular types of cherries that are available at your local grocery store.
The bing cherry is probably the most famous of the cherry varieties and offer the most well-rounded and accessible taste profile of the bunch. With its signature dark red exterior, it's hard to resist the temptation of popping one, or two, or a dozen of these juicy, flavorful cherries in your mouth whenever you see them hanging from a tree or sitting in a bag at the grocery store.
You can expect to see these sweet, yet slightly acidic cherries popping up starting in May in most places, with the season lasting through the month of August. That will give you plenty of time to incorporate the bing cherry into any one of your summer meal plans.
Like the bing cherry, the rainier is also on the sweet side of the cherry spectrum, but the similarities stop there. The rainier cherry boasts a nice yellow and red finish, making it look more like a miniature apple than a sweet cherry. You can pop these cherries in your mouth for a quick afternoon snack or you can chop them up and insert them into your favorite salad recipe. They also go well with crushed nuts and goat cheese.
If you're wanting to try your hand at incorporating the rainier cherry into your summer plans then we have good news for you. The rainier will start popping up in stores some time around late June and will be a fixture until at least early August.
You might not have heard of the Queen Anne cherry by its formal name, but you have had these iconic cherries at some point in your life. While you won't see a lot of people eating these tart cherries on their own, you will see this cherry in dozens of bottles on the grocery store shelf under the name Maraschino cherries. To get around the tart tones of the Queen Anne, producers will put them in jars loaded with sweetened syrup.
These cherries can be bought year round due to the preservatives in the jars, which makes them perfect for any baking needs no matter the time of year.
The Montgomery is one of the most versatile varieties of cherries on the market. Though extremely sour, the Montgomery remains a fan favorite whether it's frozen, dried, canned, or even fresh. You'll mostly see this type of cherry in the frozen section where many people use it add some life to their smoothies.
Like the Queen Anne, you can purchase the Montgomery in all months of the year if you don't mind eating frozen or dried cherries. Hey, it could be worse.
You couldn't have a cherry pie without the Morello. This dark red and sour cherry goes best in cherry pies, cherry jams, and cherry preserves. With a rich and complex taste profile, the Morello is very complimentary to a number of foods, including chocolate. Perhaps it's such a good cherry to combine with sweet foods because of its very sour taste.
Knowing about all of the different types of cherries is good and all, but knowing the different tastes and uses of cherries won't mean anything if we don't know how to enjoy the cherries in the first part.
We previously wrote about this very topic and put together a step-by-step guide to pitting cherries at home, no matter what kind of tools you have at your disposal.
Not only are cherries super tasty, they're all great for your body. One cup of cherries contains less than 100 calories and 15% of your daily vitamin C needs, so there's no reason not to pop a few cherries in your mouth for a guilt-free snack.
Cherries are a great source of antioxidants that can help slow down aging and fight off chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's.
Drinking cherry juice is a great way to lower your total cholesterol, including LDL, which medical doctors consider to be the "bad" form of cholesterol that can be dangerous over time. Studies show that a 1% reduction in cholesterol lowers the risk of heart disease by 2%.
Cherries are also considered a superfood that is nutritionally dense and great for your health. A study released by Oklahoma State University came to the conclusion that cherries can help support strong bones for those who consistently eat cherries.
With all of these benefits plus great flavor, there's no reason not be eating cherries this summer.