Sweet Cherry Varieties

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Sweet cherriesSweet 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.

Also of interest:

How to Plant, Grow, Prune, and Harvest Cherries

Sour 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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