Related Articles
Other Names

Prunus avium

French: cerise
Spanish: cereza



It is claimed the first cherries came from Kerassos, a Greek name meaning "horn." It is from this word that the English and French words derive Genus "Prunus."

Sweet cherry - Cerasus avium
The sweet cherry is a smooth-trunked fruit tree which can reach 10 to 20 m in height and 60 cm in diameter. The drupes are bright red and fleshy with a smooth stone and a glabrous, shiny skin and hang in groups of three or four from long thin stems attached to the bark.

Sour cherries - Prunus cerasus

  • Montmorency and Morello ("griotte" in French) cherries - are used in pies, preserves, baking and desserts. Morello and Montmorency cherries are often put in jars, covered with eau-de-vie, and kept for an "out-of-season" treat. Maraschino, English cherries, etc.
  • Sweet cherries - Prunus avium
  • Sweet or mazzard cherry - these early red or black cherries are preferred for clafoutis and jams.
  • Bigarreau (or bigaroon), Bing, wild cherry, etc.

Nutritional values per 100 g
Calories: 72 / 50; Water: 83%; Carbohydrates: 17 / 11 g; Fat: 0.9 / 0.3 g; Protein: 1.2 / 1 g.
Rich in vitamin A, a good source of vitamin B, potassium, calcium, and manganese.

Buying cherries
Firm but with some give (never hard), unwrinkled and unblemished. They should be firmly attached to straight green stems, with a shiny, smooth and nicely-colored skin.

Be careful - cherries are highly perishable and their flavour can deteriorate rapidly depending on the weather.

Keep at room temperature if unripe. Cherries are fragile: they absorb odours easily and dry out quickly. Keep in a sealed container or plastic bag. The soft-fleshed varieties will keep for a week and the firmer-fleshed ones for two weeks. Add 100 g of sugar per kilogram to make them keep better and longer.

Cooking tips

  • Wash under cold water but never soak them.
  • Remove the stones by making a small incision: cherry-pitters are also available to make this job easier.
  • Take cherries out of the refrigerator an hour before eating.
  • Cherries are wonderful additions to game, poultry and the renowned duck aux cerises.
  • To begin your dinner party, a cherry macerated in balsamic vinegar is a wonderful counterpoint to chicken liver mousse.
  • For compotes, cook with the stones in and remove them at the end of the cooking time to give added flavour.
  • Since cherries are low in pectin, you will need to add pectin (or some other high-pectin fruit) when making jam.

France - Cherries are starred in soup in the Franche-Comté region, clafoutis in Berry, and kougelhof in Alsace.

Belgium- Sauce for guinea hen - sugar, beer, orange juice, red currant jelly, veal stock and sour cherries.



Search within the site
Advanced search >
Register free to receive our official newsletter
Sign up
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:
Get the daily and monthly recipe posts automatically added to your newsreader.
Sign up