Species of Cherries
Species of Cherries
While most of what we know about cherries are only restricted to sweet or sour cherries, there are actually multiple species of cherries, many of which are fruit-bearing in nature. Cherries belong to the genus Prunus and are available in almost all the continents of the world in varying types. Even the famed cherry blossoms which are non-fruit bearing are related to the cherry fruit, and hence enhance the richness and diversity of the cherry family.
For purposes of this post, it makes sense to focus on sweet and sour cherries as those are the two species of cherries that are widely cultivated for food purposes.
Sweet Cherry. The scientific name for sweet cherries is Prunus Avium and it is widely cultivated in many regions of the world because of its great qualities as a food and valuable nutrient source. Sweet cherries often find its way into the kitchen as add-ons to cocktails and drinks, decorations on top of cakes, and as a popular garnish to a beautiful dessert. As the name implies, sweet cherries are sweet to the taste which is a big reason why most cherries in this form are eaten fresh or dried. Sweet cherries tend to come in intense red colors although there are many varieties that are also yellowish or dark red in hue.
Sour Cherry. The scientific name of sour cherry is Prunus Cerasus and was originally cultivated in Europe and Asia before making its way to the American continent. Within the sour cherry family, there are two primary varieties which contribute to the ever vast family comprising the species of cherries. These are the lighter-red amarelle cherry and the dark-red morello. Sour cherries, from the name itself, are sour when eaten fresh and are likely to be processed before being consumed. Sour cherries are featured in many recipes like cakes and tarts but are also good for cooking with meat as it can be used to provide contrast to the “volume” arising from the taste of the meat.
These fruit-bearing species of cherries have so much to offer as a cultivar mainly because cherries are known to carry a lot of health benefits for regular consumers. Both the sweet and sour cherry varieties are rich in antioxidants which are great for fighting illnesses that are due to damage at the cellular level. Some examples of these antioxidants include anthocyanins, flavonoids and even Vitamin C which is abundant in most sweet and sour cherries.
Over time, the benefits of the many species of cherries have expanded to cherry concentrates, pills, and other cherry-based supplements which are meant to provide a steady source of cherries for the whole year. The harvest period for cherries is generally short so fresh cherries are likely to not last long beyond the harvest season. Cherry supplements make it possible for many people to enjoy the different species of cherries way past its harvest time.
Whether you like sweet or sour cherries, all of these species of cherries are guaranteed to spice your life by offering a great source of nutritious food. If you have yet to discover the appeal of cherries, head to your local supermarket to try some. Cherries are great eaten fresh or mixed into many recipes. You would find it to your benefit to have cherries on hand at all times to participate in their great taste and the many cherry health benefits they offer.