Sour cherries have firm to semi-firm flesh and rich flavor, which makes them good for cooking and baking. Sour cherries are used for jams, sauces, cobblers and pies. There are two types of tart cherries: morello and amarelle. Although tart cherry trees will bear fruit after the first year, which can stunt the growth of the tree, Gibberelin spray is used to remove the fruit for a few years so tree growth is not stunted.
Montmorency cherries account for most of the tart cherries grown. This cherry tree belongs to the amarelle variety and is ready to harvest on or near July 21. The tree is productive, but is also susceptible to spring frosts that occur later in spring. This mild-acidity tart cherry is medium to large with a yellowish flesh and red skin.
Northstar tart cherries are ready for harvest on or near July 26. The cherry was introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1950 as part of the merello variety. Northstar cherries have a dark juice with mahogany to reddish skin and red flesh. Fruits are not harvested until the fruit has a dark color. More sugars accumulate in the cherry when harvest is delayed.
In 1952, the University of Minnesota introduced the meteor cherry, which belongs to the amarelle variety. The semi-firm cherry is ready to harvest on or near July 29. Meteor cherries have a yellowish flesh with pale red skin. The medium fruit has a football-shaped pit, which makes it less acceptable for commercial use because during processing the pit can shatter.
Belonging to the morello variety, the English morello is semi-firm and has dark reddish to almost black skin. Fruits are ready for harvest on or near July 25. The fruit is tender and large, which makes it a good choice for making pies.
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