What’s the difference between Bing Cherries and Rainier Cherries?
June is fast approaching, and that means local markets and online stores will soon be offering fresh cherries for sale. Unlike some fruits which are available all year round, cherries are only available for a short amount of time. For this reason, it’s important to know your options and which kind to get especially if you’re considering sending out cherry gifts. For this purpose, we’ll compare two of the most popular types of cherries, Bing cherries and Rainier cherries. Despite being very easy to tell the difference at a glance, these two kinds of cherry are actually more closely related than they appear. Both are related to Prunus avium, or bird cherries, named as such since birds are known to snack on them.
The first Bing cherry comes from Milwaukie, OR and was bred back in 1875 by Seth Lewelling and his Chinese foreman, Ah Bing, from where this cultivar gets its name. They are large and firm, have a deep red to mahogany color once ripe, and are usually available only in July. They are the most cultivated variety of cherry and are perfect for eating out of hand, using in desserts, or canning. Bing cherries always make dessert extra special once they’re in season.
This particular kind of cherry is named after the Mount Rainier in Washington. It is actually a cross between the Van and Bing Cherry and was first bred in 1952 by Dr. Harold Fogle in Washington State University. Rainier cherries are also known as sweetheart cherries, and have a creamy yellow flesh, with an outer skin of blush red. This sweet, delicately flavored drupe is actually more suited for salsas, salads, and of course, eating out of hand. They are less common than Bing cherries, so they can cost significantly more. Rainiers are available between June and July.
Both the Rainier and Bing cherry fall under the category of sweet cherries are arguably at their best when eaten out of hand. These tasty summer treats are not only sweet, they are also healthy options to include in your diet when they are in season. Like most fruits, cherries are known to be rich in antioxidants which have a positive impact on your health. Studies show that cherries have a positive impact on inflammatory conditions like gout and arthritis. They also contain anthocyanin, which helps the body produce more insulin and helps improve memory. They said to improve sleep quality. Their high fiber content also helps in lowering the risk of colon cancer and helps in weight control.
Given the limited time of availability of these gourmet cherries, they make for a very thoughtful gift option during the summer season.