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The Difference Between Sweet and Sour Cherries

What’s the difference, and when you should you use one over the other?

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sweet cherries and sour cherries

Cherries are the quintessential fruit of the dog days of summer. And while they’re flooding farmers markets and roadside stands in all their beautiful glory, you might notice there are two classic varieties sitting side by side. While one is dark red, and ever so sweet, the other can be golden or vibrantly red with a wonderful tartness. So when should you choose one over the other?

Sweet cherries
Because sweet cherries are so flavourful and juicy, they make for the perfect snack (by the handful!) on a hot summer’s day. They also add needed sweetness, texture and balance to light dinner and dessert dishes.

Why we love them: They shine when they’re simply macerated or left as-is, making them ideal for no-cook dinners and desserts.

Try them in: 
Black forest frozen cheesecake
Summer cherry panzanella
No-bake summer fruit tarts

Sour cherries
Sour cherries have a unique tartness, giving them an added dimension of cherry flavour wherever you use them. And, unlike their sweet counterparts, they come in a variety of different shades, making them extra special and oh-so-summery.

Why we love them: Sour cherries hold their authentic cherry flavour throughout a high-heat cooking process, making them the ideal choice for baked goods or jams. And since that tart flavour demands a bit of sugar, it makes for a perfect match in cakes and pies.

Try them in:
Cherry crumble coffee cake
Very cherry pie

Watch how to easily pit cherries:

Related:
15 ways to make the most of summer cherries 
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