Cherries are related to plums and more distantly to peaches and nectarines. They have been enjoyed since the Stone Age -- pits were found in several Stone Age caves in Europe. The Romans carried cherries throughout Europe and England along the routes of conquest.
Cherries are grown in several regions of this country, but seventy percent of the cherries produced in the United States come from four states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah).
- Montmorency: This variety is the best known sour cherry. It is mostly canned or frozen for use as pie filling or sauce. They are grown mostly in the eastern and Midwestern states.
- Bing: This variety is the best known sweet cherry. It is large, round, extra-sweet and has a purple-red flesh and a deep red skin that is close to black when fully ripe. The Bing is available from the end of May until early August.
- Lambert: This variety is the second most popular sweet cherry. It is smaller than the Bing and is more heart shaped. It has a dark-red skin and a rich flavor. Lamberts are available a bit longer than the Bing, usually until the end of August.
- Rainer: This variety is sweet with a yellow or pinkish skin. It is milder and sweeter than the Bing. However, this variety is grown in limited quantities.
- Royal Ann: This variety has a blush-yellow skin and is often canned or made into maraschino cherries.
|Serving Size (73g)|
|Amounts Per Serving||% Daily Value|
|Calories from Fat 0|
|Total Fat 1g||1%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 12g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.|
Choosing the Best Cherry
Buy cherries that have been kept cool and moist, as flavor and texture both suffer at warm temperatures. Cherries have a limited growing season and any fresh cherries grown in the United States sold after August probably came from cold storage. Small quantities of sweet cherries are imported from New Zealand during the winter months, but these may be difficult to find.