Sweet cherries are great for eating out of hand and using in fruits salads, compotes, custards, sorbets, ice cream, and yogurt.
Fresh sweet cherries come to harvest from mid-spring to mid-summer, May through mid-July in the Northern Hemisphere. The sweet cherry harvest can be divided into early, mid-season and late. That means you can enjoy some or all of these over the course of the cherry harvest.
Here are a few sweet cherry varieties to look for:
Angela: medium to large cherry with firm flesh and good flavor. Late harvest.
Bing: large, red-black cherry with dark flesh. This is a meaty, firm, intensely sweet and juicy cherry that is also sweetly aromatic. Bing is the most common cherry in North America. Late harvest.
Black Russian: black-red skinned cherry with dark firm flesh that is great eating fresh. Midseason harvest.
Black Tartarian: very large, bright purplish to black-skinned cherry with dark, thick flesh that is sweet-tasting and great for desserts. This cherry softens after picking. Early harvest.
Chapman: a large, round, red cherry.
Chinook: a mahogany skinned cherry very similar to the Bing.
Compact Stella: a medium to large heart-shaped cherry with dark red fruit, firm flesh, and great flavor. Midseason harvest.
Deacon: a medium to large black-skinned cherry with firm flesh and sweet flavor. Early harvest.
Early Burlat: a large, moderately firm cherry. Early harvest.
Emperor Francis: large, yellow-skinned cherry with pink blush, firm, light flesh, and very sweet. Midseason harvest.
Giant: very large, black-red skinned cherry with firm dark flesh. Midseason harvest.
Gold: medium-small yellow-skinned cherry with a firm, light flesh that is tangy-sweet and great for desserts. Late harvest.
Hedelfingen: large, nearly black cherry with a firm, dark flesh and a sweet flavor great for fresh use. Late harvest.
Jubilee: fruit is similar to Bing but larger with glossy, dark red skin and firm sweet flesh. Early harvest.
Kansas Sweet: fruit similar to Bing but larger with a glossy dark red skin and sweet, juicy flavor. Late harvest.
Lambert: large, purple-red cherry with a firm, pale flesh; very sweet and juicy; considered a connoisseur’s cherry. Late harvest.
Lapins Sweet Cherry: similar to Bing. Late midseason harvest.
Larian: medium to large fruit with firm flesh. Early harvest.
Napoleon: also known as Royal Ann is a large, yellow-skinned cherry with bright red blush. This is an old French variety with sweet, firm, juicy flesh and a sprightly flavor.
Rainer: large, golden yellow skinned cherry with pink blush and firm, juicy flesh and a sweet delicate flavor. Early harvest.
Republican: also called Black Republican and Black Oregon—a small, round fruit that is dark purple and firm, tender and tart. Late harvest.
Royal Ann: see Napoleon.
Sam: medium-large, black-skinned cherry that is firm and juicy. Midseason harvest.
Schmidt: large, black, heart-shaped cherry with a sweet taste. Midseason harvest.
Starking Hardy Giant: dark red fruit and good flavor. Early to midseason.
Stella: large, dark red cherry with firm flesh and sweet flavor. Midseason harvest.
Ulster: a large, dark-skinned cross between a Schmidt and a Lambert with excellent flavor. Midseason harvest.
Van: dark red glossy cherry with a firm, dark flesh; slightly smaller than the Bing. Late midseason harvest.
Vista: large, dark red skin with a firm, dark flesh. Early harvest.
Windsor: dark red cherry with firm flesh great for eating fresh. Midseason harvest.
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