22 Types of Cherries to Explore All Varieties of Flavor
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
All types of cherries are stone fruits, which contain stones in the center, sometimes called a pit, to contain the seed. They are a good source of Vitamin B and have color and flavor varieties that occur in a wide range. Cherry trees can not be cultivated in tropical regions and thrive best in temperate regions.
One thing to note is that many of them are hybrid creations or cultivars of another cherry. A cultivar is a type of plant bred to have desired traits like colors, textures, size, or flavors.
The reasoning is that some varieties are too fragile to ship commercially, so cultivars must be made to become more agreeable to shipping. Other times, cultivars are made simply for the taste or texture of the cherry.
22 Types of Cherries
Cherries came to America when early settlers brought them by ship in the 1600's. In1852, Peter Dougherty planted cherry trees on his farm in Michigan, marking the beginning of modern cherry production. By the early 1900's, the actual cherry industry was firmly established.
Cherries are separated into five main groups: red, yellow, sweet, sour, and dark red cherries. We will go through the different types of cherries that exist within these five groups and their respective properties so you can learn more about the many cherry types out there.
Tieton cherries are hybrids of Stella cherries and Early Burlat cherry species created in Washington. These cherries are early ripening cherries and have a uniquely thick stem.
This stem allows the fruit to retain moisture longer after picking, thus retaining a fresh appearance longer. They are mahogany-red and very firm in texture. The flavor is mild, and the fruit is large.
The Skeena cherry is a hybrid cherry of two unknown varieties. It was created in Canada in the 1970s and officially selected in the 1980s. The fruits are large and very firm with dark coloring. The skin is dark red to black, while the flesh is dark red.
The Van cherry originates from Canada. It was introduced in the 1940s and is a medium-sized fruit. The skin is black, and the flesh is dark red. Van cherries are sweet cherries.
Beyond their characteristics as a cherry, they are often used to create hybrid kinds of cherries, thus creating new cherries altogether later on. I hope some mad scientist can cross one with some types of grapes for a delicious new fruit type.
The sweetheart cherry is a hybrid of Van cherries and Newstar cherries. It was officially released to the public in 1994 and is now mainly used as a cultivar for many other cherry varieties.
The fruit is of moderate size, and its flesh is red while the skin is a dark, bright red color. The American Society for Horticultural Science awarded it the Outstanding Fruit Cultivar in 2012.
Royal Ann Cherry
The Royal Ann Cherry is similar to the Rainier cherry in taste and appearance. However, these have been around much longer than Rainier cherries. They are thought to have been named back in 1850.
These types of cherries are sweet and have firm skin and flesh. They are perfect for canning and cooking because of their thickness and sweetness. These are also the prime variety to make maraschino cherries for cocktails and other dishes.
This cherry is most closely related to the sweet cherry. While the fruit is edible, it is more acidic than a sweet cherry. These cherries are native to Europe and Southwest Asia.
There are many uses for the sour morello cherry species. They can be used for cooking, when dried, for many dishes. They are also popularly used in syrups and liqueurs.
The Stella cherry is a popular variety grown in British Columbia, Canada. This cherry is considered a good pollinator for many varieties of cherries as well. The fruit is a dark red color and sweet tasting.
The fruit grows in a heart shape, and these different kinds of cherries are fairly large. This cherry has also been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Developed by the orchardist Joseph Hamilton Lambert in 1896, the Lambert cherry are flavorful cherry varieties native to the Pacific Northwestern side of the United States.
In the early 1900s, this cherry was considered one of the finest cherry varieties in America. The skin and flesh of Lambert cherries are richly red, and they are usually large cherries with small pits.
Named for Mount Rainier in Washington, this cherry was invented at Washington State University in the 1950s.
It is a cross between Bing cherries and Van cherries and is considered a premium cherry variety. They are sweet-tasting fruits. The skin is thin, and the flesh is a thick, creamy-yellow color and texture.
These types of cherries are native to the British Columbia province in Canada. Lapins cherries are late-season cherries. They are also dark red when ripe and still maintain their sweet taste despite the dark coloring.
This is a delicious variety. It is a hybrid of the Stella and Van cherry varieties. The Lapins cherry has even won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. My sister has one of these trees growing along side some types of plums, and I always get gifted some.
These cherries were first developed in Washington in the 1970s. They are red when ripe and sweet tasting. It is a cross between the Stella and Beaulieu cherry varieties. These cherries are grown in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
The Bing cherry types are the most produced cherry variety in the United States. This cherry was originally bred in Oregon in the 1870s.
It continues to be produced by growers in the Pacific Northwest region of the US. This variety is a cultivar from the Black Republican and Royal Ann varieties.
They are large, dark, and firm cherries that are great for shipping. They have a dark red flesh and taste rather sweet.
Montmorency cherries are grown in Canada and states in the United States like Wisconsin and Michigan. These cherries are sour and turn a bright red color when they are ripe.
These cherries are often used in desserts like pies and many types of jam or preserves. You can also find them sold dried or in juice form.
Chinook cherries are a hybrid between Bing cherries and Gil Peck cherries. The chinook ripens a few days before Bing cherries and is sweeter than Bing varieties.
It was introduced in the 1960s as a pollenizer for Bing cherries so they could be shipped fresh for commercial sales. However, they are not often sold and shipped due to their soft flesh.
The Regina types of cherries are a cultivar of the sweet cherry. It was created in Germany, and many people consider it the most successful sweet cherry formulated in the country. Commercial sales of this cherry variety began in 1998, and it is grown in Oregon as well as Europe.
These cherries are large and have a dark red flesh and skin color. Their flavor is considered sweet and tart but leans more to the sweet side. They're quite easy types of fruit trees to maintain if you want to get into growing your own, too.
Developed by Italians in the 1860s, the Amarena types of cherry are a small, dark, and ripe fruit. The fruit and juice are sour, which is perfect for a dessert syrup.
The originators of this cherry founded the brand Fabbri to sell the juice and syrups formed from this variety. Fabbri still makes these products today.
This is another sour cherry variety. It is also sold and known as the Bali cherry. This tree is thought to be native to the Northern United States and Canada.
The fruit of this cherry tree is bright red when ripe and makes a pink-tinted juice. If you grow one of these cherry trees, make sure you know the best time to plant fruit trees.
Griotte de Kleparow Cherry
The Griotte de Kleparow originated in Poland hundreds of years ago. In 1555 there was an order in Poland for the citizens of the country to protect this cherry variety. It then gained popularity across Europe and the United States in the 1800s.
These varieties of cherries taste is a rich, sweet, sub-acid flavor. The flesh color can vary from light to dark, but ripe Griotte de Kleparow cherries have dark flesh. This variety is perfect for making juices, wines, and desserts.
The Balaton types of cherries are a sour variety that originates from Hungary. It is a cultivar of sour cherries and was bred by the Hungarian government to try and find the best tasting sour cherry to plant in the nation’s collective farms.
Commercial sales of this variety began in Hungary in 1970 and the United States in 1998. The taste is noticeable sweet and tart. The skin and flesh are a dark red color. It is a good cherry variety to use if you need natural red coloring in a recipe.
Black Tartarian Cherry
The Black Tartarian cherry is known for its unique taste and texture, but it is too soft for commercial shipping and transportation. It was brought to England in the 1700s from a region near the Black Sea.
Then, in the 1800s, this cherry species made its way from England to the United States. It is about an inch in diameter and is usually grown as a pollenizer for other cherry varieties.
Black Republican Cherry
Black Republican cherries are cultivars and hybrids of two unknown cherries. Some people think it is a cross between the Black Tartarian cherry and the Napoleon, or Royal Ann, cherry. These cherries are small, firm cherries with an intense taste and deep purple skin.
Black Republican cherry types used to be a popular commercial variety in the Pacific Northwest but are rare in modern times and are even listed as an endangered heritage food by the Ark of Taste.
Ulster cherries originated in New York in the 1930s and are a combination of Schmidt and Lambert cherries. They are sweet cherries and can be grown in harsh climates. These fruits are dark red and generally large.
These different kinds of cherries can even measure up to one inch in diameter. They are great to eat fresh because of their sweet taste. They are also popular for canning and making wine.
Types of Cherries to Explore Every Taste Possibility
Though there are no rules to cooking, using the best cherry for your recipe or desired outcome is ideal. It’s especially important to know whether a type of cherry is classified as sweet or sour.
We hope the information here has inspired you to make homemade canned cherries, homemade cherry juice, or perhaps try new and different types of cherries for your favorite dessert recipe or snack.