Food Guide


Buying Tips

Sweet cherries are commonly the only ones available fresh in the market. Look for shiny, firm, plump fruit with fresh stems and unbroken skin. Beware of wax that can give a false shiny appearance. Avoid cherries with wrinkled skin or white spots that indicate mold. Wait until June to purchase cherries as lighter red cherries, sold earlier, do not ripen after picking. The darkest cherries are the ripest.


The three types of cherries include sweet (Prunus avium), sour (P. cerasus), and wild (P. avium). Sweet cherries are usually large and heart-shaped. They include the deep-burgundy colored Bing, Lambert, and Tartarian, common in the United States, and the yellow varieties, usually blushed with red, called Royal Ann, Rainier, or Napoleon. Royal Ann cherries are the ones specially processed, dyed red, and sold as maraschino cherries. Other sweet cherry varieties include the Bigaroon and Gean. Sour varieties, favored for use in pies and preserves, include the brilliant red Montmorency and the smaller Morello.

Preparation, Uses, & Tips

Cherries are delicious eaten fresh, and in cobblers, turnovers, pies, and fruitcake. Use them to make jams, compotes, and sorbets, or add to ice cream, yogurt, and puddings. They can be candied, dried, cooked, preserved, or macerated in alcohol. Dry sour cherries make a good addition when cooking hot cereal. Chocolate-covered cherries are a favorite, and candied cherries are prepared for Black Forest cake. Cherries are also used to make kirsch and other liqueurs.

Nutrition Highlights

Cherries (with pits, sweet, raw), 1 cup (117g)

  • Calories: 74
  • Protein: 1g
  • Carbohydrate: 19g
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Fiber: 2g

*Excellent Source of: Vitamin C (8.19mg)

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.