It’s officially summer here in the Pacific Northwest…. Cherry season has begun! From now through August, we will be picking, packing and shipping these little gems seven days a week.
In all likelihood, when visiting your local supermarket, you will find two different types of cherries. Although there are numerous varieties for each type, we classify them as Dark Sweet and Rainier. But, what’s so different between the two?
The obvious difference between them is their appearance. Dark Sweet cherries are a rich, mahogany color, whereas Rainier cherries are yellow, with a tinge of red. However, their flavor profile also sets them apart from one another. Rainiers have a lower acidity level, which results in them having higher brix (sugar content). Thus, Rainier cherries are actually sweeter than Dark Sweet cherries.
In addition, the growing season for Rainier cherries is much shorter. There is less acreage planted in the Pacific Northwest, therefore there is less volume to supply consumers with. You can find Washington grown Rainiers at retail from mid-June until mid-July. Dark Sweets, though, you will be able to find until the end of August.
Quick Fact: Developed in 1952 at Washington State University, the Rainier cherry is a cross between the Bing and the Van. It gets its name after the highest peak in the state of Washington.
How to: Select, Store & Prep Cherries