When Do Cherries Ripen?

Cherries are a beloved summertime fruit, with their delicious flavors and beautiful crimson hue. But when do cherries ripen to allow you to enjoy them at their best?

The answer depends on a number of factors; the variety of cherries, the location where they are grown, and other environmental factors.

When Do Cherries Ripen

Read on to find out everything you need to know about how and when cherries ripen and ensure that you can pick and enjoy the best cherries when they are at their peak.

What Are Cherries?

Cherries are a type of stone fruit, meaning that they have a hard pit inside them. While there are many different types of cherries, the two main varieties are sweet and sour.

Sweet cherries are popular for snacking and baking, while sour cherries have a more tart flavor and can be used in pies and other desserts.

When Do Cherries Ripen?

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The answer depends on the type of cherry tree as well as the geographic location.

Generally, cherries will ripen in late May to early July, depending on where you live and the variety of cherry trees.

Sweet Cherries

Sweet cherries are a popular variety and are typically ready to harvest in early to mid-summer. Some of the most common sweet cherry varieties include Bing, Rainier, and Van.

You can tell when sweet cherries are ripe by looking at their dark red color.

Be sure to pick them when they are firm to the touch, but not too soft – this can indicate that the fruit has gone bad.

Sour Cherries

Sour cherries are typically harvested in late June to early July. They are smaller and have a more tart flavor compared to their sweet cousins.

Widely popular sour cherry varieties include Montmorency and North Star.

To determine when sour cherries are ripe, you should look for a deep red color mixed with a slightly yellowish hue.

Keep in mind that once they are mature, they can be easily picked as the stems will come off easily.

Rainier Cherries

Rainier cherries are a hybrid of the sweet and sour varieties and turn yellow with a bright red flush when they are ripe for picking.

This typically occurs in mid to late June. Wait until the cherries are plump and have a slight give to the touch before harvesting them.

How Do I Know When Cherries Are Ripe?

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To determine when cherries are ripe, look for signs such as a deep red hue and a slight yellow tinge on sour cherries, or a dark red color and plumpness on sweet cherries; Rainier cherries should have a bright red blush and be slightly yellow.

Another indication of ripeness is that the stems should come off easily when lightly tugged.

Finally, the flavor of the cherry is a great indication of ripeness – ripe cherries should be sweet and juicy.

Harvesting Cherries

When harvesting cherries, it is important to be gentle and use proper technique, or you risk causing damage to the fruit and ruining your crop.

Start by using your thumb to twist the stem at the base of the cherry until it comes off. Be careful not to pull too hard, as this can damage the fruit.

Gently place each cherry in a bowl or basket that has been lined with a cloth, paper towel, or newspaper.

This will help cushion any potential bruising and ensure that the fruit stays fresh.

You should also avoid harvesting cherries that are not yet ripe, as they will not ripen further after being picked.

Instead, wait until they have reached their peak of ripeness before harvesting.

Storing Cherries

Once the cherries have been harvested, they should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator.

This will help them stay fresh and preserve their flavor for up to a week. If you plan on using the cherries later, you can also freeze them for up to six months.

Health Benefits Of Cherries

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In addition to being delicious, cherries also offer several health benefits, and these include:

High In Fiber

Cherries are naturally, rich in fiber and can therefore help lower cholesterol levels, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

High fiber levels can also help keep your digestive system running smoothly and reduce the risk of constipation, helping to ensure that your body is able to absorb all the essential nutrients it needs.

Boost Brain Health

Cherries are high in melatonin, which can help promote restful sleep and improve brain function. They also contain anthocyanins, which are beneficial for cognitive health, and this is why they are often added to smoothies and other drinks.

Boost Immunity

In addition, cherries are full of vitamins and minerals that can help strengthen the immune system.

Vitamin C, found in abundance in cherries, is important for the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infection.

The fruit also contains iron, which is necessary for producing hemoglobin-carrying red blood cells, and are also high in potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure.

How To Enjoy Tasty Cherries

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Cherries are incredibly versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. Some of the best ways to enjoy them include:

Making Jam

Make your own delicious jam with cherries and a few simple ingredients. Start by washing the cherries, removing the stems and pits, then combine them with sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan.

Simmer until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.

Pour into jars and enjoy!


Cherries can be used to add an extra burst of flavor to desserts and baked goods. Add them to cakes, pies, muffins, or even cookies for a delicious treat.


Make your own cherry juice with fresh cherries and a blender. Simply blend the cherries until smooth, then strain before drinking.

Final Thoughts

Cherries are a delicious and healthy fruit that can be enjoyed in many ways. Whether you choose to eat them raw or cooked, they are sure to make any meal or snack more delicious.

Just remember to wait until the cherries are fully ripe before harvesting, and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week to enjoy them at their very best.

Valentina Hernandez
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