Table of content A-Z




Sour cherry: Prunus cerasus

sweet cherry: Prunus avium


The home of the cherry is Eurasia. The fruit was popular with the ancient Romans and then spread throughout Europe. The temperate zones of Europe remain at the forefront in the cultivation of cherries even today.



Sweet cherries are available from May to October. The period of availability for sour cherries is shifted one month later; in July and August both types are particularly plentiful, and this is when domestic cherries appear on the market.


Appearance, taste, characteristics

Cherries are round to oval and their colour differs depending on the variety; it can be yellow to red to red-black. In the middle of the fruit is a medium-sized stone. According to the variety, cherries can taste anywhere from sour to very sweet. Cherries are classified into three main groups, with further subgroups:


* Sweet cherries (Prunus avium or Cerasus avium, in some cases also Prunus dulcis or Cerasus dulcis)
Sweet cherries ripen earlier than sour cherries. The fruits vary from yellow to red to red-black. They are divided into the following subgroups:

a) Heart cherries (Cerasus avium ssp. Juliana)

- white pulp, juicy, spoils easily

- ripen between the beginning of May and the end of June

b) Bigarreau or bigaroon or white heart cherry (Cerasus avium ssp. duracina)

- firm pulp, aromatic descendent of the wild (or bird) cherry, travels well

- ripen between the end of June and the end of July

- The bing cherry is a popular example of this type in North America.


* Sour cherries (Cerasus vulgaris or Prunus cerasus)

 Ripen later than sweet cherries (mid July to mid August). We differentiate between:

a) Morello cherries (Prunus cerasus var. austera)

- soft pulp, dark colour, very aromatic, slightly tart.

• Due to its high yield and its dark-red, juicy pulp it is quite popular. It contains more vitamin C and antioxidative phenols than other sour cherries on average, and is frequently sold preserved in jars.

• The Dalmatian (Croatian) Marasca cherry is the basis for the famous Maraschino liqueur.

b) Amarelle cherries (Prunus cerasus var. caproniama)

- yellow or red with light-coloured pulp


* Wild cherries / Bird cherries (Prunus avium ssp. avium)
Wild cherries are small representatives of this type of fruit with little pulp. They are very dark. They have a detoxifying effect. Folk medicine attributes to them a restorative effect and relief in rheumatic diseases. In addition, an infusion of their stems is supposed to act as a diuretic.



Dark varieties have a high content of anthocyanins. These are secondary plant substances that contribute to the red to dark-red skin.


100 g contain:



Sweet cherry, fresh

Sour cherry, fresh

Sour cherry, preserved

Energy (kcal)




Water (g)




Protein (g)




Fat (g)




Carbohydrates (g)




Fibre (g)




Vitamin C (mg)




Vitamin A (RE) (µg)




Folic acid (µg)




Potassium (mg)




Sodium (mg)




Calcium (mg)




Magnesium (mg)




Iron (mg)




Note: As this is a natural product, and as the information is taken from various sources and therefore from different analyses, there may be fluctuations in the nutritional facts. The minerals in particular may fluctuate, since the plant takes these from the soil, the composition of which itself can vary. Its mineral content is influenced, for instance, by fertilization. The footnotes are explained here.


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Do not buy unripe cherries, as they will not ripen after being picked.


With dark-red varieties, the rich colour is a sign of ripeness. Smoothness and firmness are usually signs of good quality.


Fruits that are slightly split open do not taste any different from the others; however, you should not store them too long, as they spoil quickly.


Cherries can be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 days. It is important that the fruits be protected from moisture to avoid spoilage. It is best to spread them out on a plate.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Sweet cherries are especially good for eating fresh.


Sour cherries are eaten mainly after processing, as compote, Danish dessert (stewed, thickened red fruits), sweet baked puddings, jam or preserves, or juice. In addition they are good as a cake topping or thickened and heated to top ice cream or waffles.


Cherries are used not only in private households but also industrially, as preserved fruit in a jar, for jams, for juice, liqueur and dessert wine. Consider also filled chocolates, candied cherries or dried cherries as an addition to muesli, not to mention the famous Black Forest cherry brandy, or kirsch.

Cherries can also be frozen. It is best to frost the fruits on a tray first and then to freeze them in bags or boxes.



Special cherry stoners are available in household-goods stores to remove the stones from cherries.





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