Cherry Varieties - Tart Cherries and Sweet Cherries

What is the difference between tart cherries and sweet cherries?

Many people know cherries for their various health benefits, a delicious addition to baked goods, or sitting on top of a pile of whipped cream. The cherry is a versatile fruit and is loved by many, but did you know that there is more than one variety of cherry? Our growers grow both tart cherries and sweet cherries in our Michigan orchards. Tart cherries and sweet cherries have many differences that you should know before you decide to bake with or eat them.

Where do tart cherries and sweet cherries come from?

Tart cherries and sweet cherries may look similar, but are grown in different areas of the United States. The Pacific Northwest is responsible for growing the vast majority of sweet cherries, while Michigan grows over 70% of the U.S.’s tart cherry production! While you may think of handpicking the juicy fruit off of a cherry tree, most cherries are harvested with mechanical harvesters that shake the trees until the cherries drop into a bin to be washed and sorted.

Cherry orchards

What are the main differences between tart cherries and sweet cherries?

Sweet cherries and tart cherries come in many different varieties. The most common sweet cherry (the one you’re probably most familiar with) is the Bing cherry. These are the fresh, darkly colored cherries you can find at the supermarket. They are filled with antioxidants that are great for your skin and are a strong source of fiber. Sweet cherries have, as their name suggests, a sweet taste that makes them a fan favorite and easy to snack on. Tart cherries, however, are beginning to catch up in popularity as people discover the crisp and tart taste of these fire truck red cherries. They have been found to decrease inflammation and promote restful sleep, making them a great addition to healthy eating habits. Montmorency tart cherries are the most popular variety of tart cherry, primarily grown in Michigan, and Shoreline Fruit specializes in these juicy red superfruits!

How should I eat tart cherries and sweet cherries?

Now that we’ve gone over the main types of cherries, which cherry is the best? It depends entirely on what you’re using them for. Sweet cherries are often eaten fresh as a snack. They are mostly sold fresh in supermarkets during the summer, and are harder to find when out of season. Tart cherries, on the other hand, are often dried, pressed into cherry juice or concentrate, or frozen and can be easily found and enjoyed year-round. Tart cherries are commonly used in baking and cooking because of their tart taste, making them the preferred cherry for cherry pies!

Tart cherry concentrate

Where can I buy tart cherries and sweet cherries?

Before you buy cherries, take the time to know where your cherries come from. While most cherries are grown in the United States, there are some imported cherries. We recommend you go to your local supermarket for fresh sweet cherries during the summer. If you’re looking for tart cherries, Shoreline Fruit has a variety of U.S. grown tart cherry products available! Check out our dried Montmorency tart cherries or enjoy the crisp taste of cherries in our 100% pure tart cherry juice.

Do these types of cherries have any health benefits?

Many research studies have shown that Montmorency tart cherries provide anti-inflammatory qualities, as well as the benefits of muscle recovery and pain relief from conditions like arthritis. Montmorency tart cherries also contain Melatonin, a natural substance that helps regulate sleep patterns.

As you can see, there are many differences between sweet and tart cherries. Here at Shoreline Fruit we love cherries! You can find a local store that carries our U.S. grown cherry products using our store locator or have them shipped directly to you from our online store.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.