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Sour cherries are distinguished by their acid content and the crimson black coloring of their skin. The fruit is petit yet plump and rounded. The skin of the fruit is smooth and firm with a glossy sheen. Its flesh, containing a small central seed, is near identical in color. Its texture, soft and meaty. The flavors of sour cherries are intense, tart and somewhat tannic when fresh.
Sour cherries are available in late summer or early fall depending on region cultivar.
Sour cherries, botanical name Prunus cerasus, are a natural occurring self-fertile hybrid between Prunus avium and Prunus fruticosa cherry trees. There are dozens of sour cherry tree varieties that mature at different intervals during the season, produce cherries with varying degrees of acidity and some varieties may be more suitable than others for cooking, drying or preserving. The most common sour cherry tree sold is the English Morello. Other less common but hardy and productive varieties include Balaton, Early Richmond, North Star and Montmorency, considered the best cherry for making cherry pies. Most sour cherries are not hand harvested, rather they are mechanically harvested, using a shaker to drop the fruit onto canvases where they flow into elevators and are placed into water tanks to rinse before packing.
Sour cherries have high levels of melatonin and have been used as a natural sleep aid for melatonin's effectiveness in regulating sleep.
Sour cherries, which are also referred to as tart or pie cherries, are best known as the key ingredient in desserts such as cakes, sorbets and ice cream. They are also a perfect cherry for sauces, reductions and glazes. Though fresh sour cherries may be too tart for some palates, they are commonly eaten in Europe and the Middle East. Sour cherries pair well with almonds, bacon, chicken, duck, vanilla, nutmeg, rosewater, saffron, citrus, cream, butter, basil, dark chocolate, anise and cinnamon. Dried sour cherries, which have a more developed and often sweeter flavor, are commonly used in salads, as accouterments to bloomy rind cheeses, aged sheep's cheeses and used as an ingredient in ice creams and gelatos. Sour cherries' shelf life can also be extended by bottling, freezing, dehydrating and using for jam, syrup, tea blends, cherry brandy and sour beers.
Sour cherries are native to the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. They are also thought be native to Eastern Europe, where they were cultivated and classified as a new, independent species. Sour cherry trees are cultivated by grafting varieties onto strong growing rootstocks. Rootstocks are chosen for climate, region, soil tolerance and to control the size of the tree. Popular rootstocks include Gisela and Mazzard, which are widely used throughout Europe and North America. Most sour cherry trees require three years of growth before they produce fruit.
Recipes that include Sour Cherries. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Steamy Kitchen||Persian Sour Cherry Saffron Rice (Polow)|
People have spotted Sour Cherries using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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Santa Monica Farmers Market
Specialty ProduceNear Santa Monica, California, United States
About 44 days ago, 5/10/17
Spotter's comments : Sour Cherries spotted at Santa Monica Farmers Market. First of the season from Murray family farms.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Steve MurrayNear Santa Monica, California, United States
Bakersfield , 93307
About 415 days ago, 5/04/16
Spotter's comments : Sour Cherries spotted at Santa Monica Farmers Market.