Types Of Tart Cherries

Cherry Benefits

Cherries Health Information

Types Of Tart Cherries

Tart cherries, also known as sour cherries, are a type of fruit from the genus Prunus. They are actually members of the Prunus cerasus subgenus. Sweet cherries are the other types of cherries and are of the Prunus avium subgenus. There are many different types of tart cherries but they can be divided into 2 main varieties, Amarelle cherries and Morello cherries.

The difference between the two main types of tart cherries is that the Amarelle cherries are light red in color while the Morello cherries are dark red in color. Morello cherries not only have dark red skin but also dark red flesh and produce dark red juice. On the other hand, amarelle cherries have pale fruit and produce nealry colorless juice.

Within these two main types of tart cherries, there are numerous cultivars. Cultivars of the Morello cherry include the English Morello cherry, Balaton and Northstar cherry. Cultivars of the amarelle cherry include Montmorency cherry, Early Richmond cherry and the meteor cherry. The Northstar and Meteor cherries were both introduced by the University of Minnesota.

Morello cherries are the types of tart cherries most commonly cultivated. This is because they tend to be relatively easy to grow and are quite hardy. The Morello cherries are not usually eaten raw as they are quite bitter and therefore not very pleasant to the taste. They are more commonly used in recipes for jams, desserts such as pies, jellies and cakes, and in meat dishes such as pork, duck and beef. Many people do not like to use sweet cherries for culinary purposes as a great deal of their flavor is lost in cooking.

Even though there are many types of tart cherries, these cherries all offer numerous health benefits. The main reason tart cherries are thought to have numerous health benefits is because of their antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation and therefore help the body fight damage caused by free radicals.

Tart cherries have been found to contain more than 17 different antioxidant containing compounds which include anthocyanins, vitamins A (beta carotene), C and E and melatonin. Because of the many different antioxidants, tart cherries are considered to have amongst the highest levels of antioxidant activity.

The different types of tart cherries also contain nutrients and minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium and folate. They also contain the amino acid tyrosine which is necessary for the production of dopamine, a very important neurotransmitter. Low dopamine levels are linked to overeating and therefore obesity, depression, loss of concentration, a lowered sex drive and addiction.

Due to the compounds found in the types of tart cherries, they have been linked to reduction of inflammation (especially in arthritis and gout), fighting heart disease, regulating sleep and preventing premature aging. For this reason many people like to use tart cherries not only for their great flavor but for the generous amount of cherries health benefits they contain.