Sour Cherry Varieties

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Sour cherriesSour cherries are great for cooking. They are richly flavored and firm of flesh so that they don’t go mushy during cooking. Use sour cherries for pies, cobblers, clafoutis, dessert sauces, preserves, and jams.

There are two types of sour cherries: amarelle-type cherries are yellow-fleshed with clear juice; morello-type cherries are red-fleshed with red juice.

Fresh sour cherries—there are more than 300 varieties–come to market from mid-June through mid-August.

Here are a few sour cherry varieties to consider:

Early Richmond: a small, round, bright red cherry with a tart-acidy flavor. This is an amarelle-type cherry used for making jams, pies, jellies, and preserves. Early harvest.

English Morello: a deep red-black skinned cherry that is large, tender, and juicy. This morello-type cherry is slightly tart. It freezes well and is an excellent choice for pie. Late harvest.

Meteor: a large, pale red skinned cherry with yellow flesh that is mildly acidic; amarelle type. Late harvest.

Montmorency: considered the best pie cherry, this is a medium to large, round, bright red-skinned cherry with a soft, yellow flesh and a mildly acidic, tart flavor. Montmorency (named after a valley in the Ile-de-France) can be canned. It is an amarelle-type cherry. Early harvest.

North Star: similar to Montmorency with bright red to mahogany skin, tart-juicy red flesh. Morello-type cherry. Late harvest.

Also of interest:

How to Plant, Grow, Prune, and Harvest Cherries

Sweet Cherry Varieties

Rainer Sweet Cherry

Cherry: Kitchen Basics

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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