With over 1,000 different types in existence, there is a cherry out there for everyone’s taste buds. The most familiar types are maraschino, black, bing, and rainier cherries. The choke cherry, black stone cherry, morello, north star, napoleon, and Spanish cherry cherries are some of the less well known types. Many of them come from the subgenus Cerasus and are cultivated in the Northern Hemisphere in at least twenty different countries. These tasty antioxidant fruits grow best in temperate climates, and their peak season is summer. The seeds of a cherry do require some cold to germinate, which is why they cannot grow in tropical weather. With all the types of cherry, it’s hard to know where to start. Unfortunately, not all the types are edible or as delicious as others.
The most popular types of cherries are: maraschino, black, bing, and rainier cherries. You can find these cherries in supermarkets all across the western world. The following is a list of the more familiar types of cherries, along with some lesser known (but not obscure) ones:
Here is a list of cherry types.
Types of Cherries
- Black Stone Cherry
- Choke Cherry
- North Star
- Spanish Cherry
Most often, cherry types are divided into two categories: sweet (P. avium) and sour (P. cerasus). Sweet cherries are often eaten plain, while sour/tart cherries are used for cooking (adding flavor and the like). These two categories have different benefits. Sweet cherries are less physically health, providing both fiber and vitamin C but not in quantities as significant (to Daily Value) as with sour cherries. Sour cherries contain high percentages of vitamins A and C and beta carotene. The acerola cherry is reported to have a vitamin C content higher than any other fruit we know of.
The montmorency and balaton varieties of cherries are produced primarily in Michigan.
Bing cherries and rainer cherries are extremely well-known varieties, and the former is produced primarily in Michigan. Montgomery cherries are popular in the midwest U.S. and fit into the sour category. They are used frequently as pie fillings or fruity sauces. You’ll find tieton cherries displayed in most grocery stores due to their sweet flavor, large size, and glossiness, which make them appear enticing.
Health Benefits of Cherries
Research has been conducted to establish the amount of anthocyanins in cherries and their effects. So far, the studies suggest that cherries can have an effect on inflammation and pain. In one study, tart cherry powder combined with a high-fat diet, was fed to rats. These rats did not gain as much body weight as others. This suggest tart cherries could reduce weight gain, but further research is necessary on this topic.
Most recently, scientists have tested cherries’ effect on sufferers of gout. They found that individuals who eat cherries regularly had a 35-75% lower risk of experiencing an attack of gout, which causes joint inflammation that is incredibly painful. The lead researcher of this study urges sufferers not to give up on their gout medication, but to increase their cherry intake in combination with it. The year following this study, the research team checked in with participants and found that those consuming cherry extract had a 45% decrease in attacks. The most significant change was for those eating raw cherries, who experienced a 75% drop. Simply amazing! For more information, read how cherries work to prevent gout.
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