Quick Answer: What Are Rainier Cherries?
Rainier cherries are a type of tart, red cherry that is often used in pies, jams, jellies, and juices. These cherries are grown in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The sweet, tart flavor of Rainier Cherries makes them a favorite for baking and snacking.
Rainier cherries are a relatively new fruit product. They were created by Washington State University’s breeding program by Harold Fogle in 1952.
They combined Van and Bing cherries. The goal was to blend two different strains of cherries to come up with a sweeter variety.
Blending the Van and Bing cherries resulted in the sweetest cherries available. They are identified by their color, which ranges from gold and half-red.
What Is Referred As Rainier Cherries?
Rainier Cherries were introduced to the market in 1952 after they were created by pairing Van and Bing cherries. They belong to the Rosaceae family of cherries.
Since they were created at the Washington State University’s breeding program, they were named in honor of Washington States Mount Rainier.
Rainier cherries are the sweetest cherries available. They have very specific growing criteria. They need full sun, a pH of 5.5-8.0, and 700 chilling hours for them to bloom.
Rainier cherry trees also bloom earlier than other types of cherries, so they are at risk of having the crop ruined by a late freeze.
What Do Rainier Cherries Taste Like?
Rainier cherries are very sweet and larger than many other cherry varieties. Unlike other varieties of cherries, nearly everyone you eat is guaranteed to be sweet and juicy.
Rainier cherries are low in acid and have one of the highest sugar contents of all sweet cherries, which ranges from 17 to 28 Brix.
Rainier cherries are prized in the pacific northwest where they are grown. They are also loved by Japanese culture and they import copious amounts of them.
Since they need a very specific growing season and are only harvested in mid-summer, their availability is short and their price is higher than most other cherries.
What Do Rainier Cherries Look Like?
Rainier cherries are larger than other cherries, averaging two to three centimeters. They have a heart-shaped fruit with a dimple in the skin where the stem is.
The cherries are glossy and smooth with a yellow base and colors that range from red, orange, and pink.
This is far different from what we think of when we think of traditional dark red cherries. You can immediately taste the difference when you bite into rainier cherries.
Unlike the red varieties, which can be sweet or sour, rainiers are the sweetest cherries available today.
What Texture Do Rainier Cherries Have?
Unlike the red cherries that most of us are used to buying, rainier cherries have thinner skin than red cherries. The texture is firm and plump with a pale yellow or cream color, but may have streaks of red near the pits.
Rainier cherries are premium cherries because of their sweetness. Their thin skin almost pops when you bite into them. They are priced a bit higher than other cherry varieties because of the care they need to come to fruition.
Like humans, birds are also fond of rainier cherries, as farmers report that nearly 1/3 of their crops are lost to birds eating them in the orchards.
What Are The Different Types Of Rainier Cherries?
Rainer is the type of cherry. There are no other cherries that can be called rainier unless they are from the rootstock that was developed at Washington State University.
There are other types of cherries, but none have the distinct color and extra sweet taste found in Rainier cherries.
Rainier cherries were developed in a lab as part of the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center at Washington State University.
Where Do Rainier Cherries Come From?
Rainier cherries are grown in Washington and Oregon primarily, but some rainier cherry groves can be found in other areas of the northwest and California. Canada and Chili have also started cultivating rainier cherries.
Other than the U.S. rainier cherries are exported to Asia. They are so prized in Japan that one cherry can cost from $1 to nearly $5 per cherry.
Is It Dangerous To Eat Rainier Cherries?
Rainier cherries are not dangerous to eat, on the contrary. They are not only delicious, but they are also low in calories and packed full of delicious sweetness. They contain fiber, protein, and vitamins A and C.
Unlike many other snacks on the market that are full of sugar and sodium, fresh rainier cherries are much better for you to eat and are delicious.
They may cost a bit more in the grocery store or farmers’ market, but they are worth the money because of their nutritional value.
How Do You Eat Rainier Cherries?
Most find rainier cherries so good, they eat them fresh from the grove, farmers’ market, or grocery store. They just need to be rinsed and they are ready to be eaten.
Many use rainier cherries in pastries and other desserts, but they are terrific fresh from the farm.
Many use rainier cherries in pies and other pastries. These can also be a healthier item to eat as rainier cherries are so sweet, often these recipes reduce the amount of refined sugar in the recipe.
You can use them in any recipe that calls for cherries, as long as you keep in mind their sugar content.
Are Rainier Cherries Good For You?
Yes, they are considered to be a super fruit as they offer several nutrients. One cup of cherries has 90 calories are packed with fiber, protein, and vitamins A and C, according to the U.S.D.A. They also contain antioxidants.
Just one cup of rainier cherries contains 15% of daily dietary vitamin C and has many essential vitamins and nutrients like potassium, copper, and polyphenols.
This is one snack that you are encouraged to eat because of its super-sweet flavor and numerous health benefits.
How Can I Store Rainier Cherries?
Rainier cherries as well as all other varieties of cherries should always be kept refrigerated in the coldest part of your refrigerator. They can then last about two weeks.
All you need to do is add some paper towels to absorb condensation and moisture.
You should never store rainier or any other type of cherry at room temperature. This will cause them to shrink, lose their moisture and spoil at a rapid rate. Always keep them in the coldest area of the refrigerator.
Can You Freeze Rainier Cherries?
Yes, you can freeze rainier cherries as you would other types of cherries. In a deep freezer, they can last for six to 12 months. Many people opt to freeze rainier cherries because they have a very short growing time.
This enables them to savor the flavors of summer in other seasons.
Just like other types of cherries, they can become oxidized and turn brown when exposed to the air. To prepare the Rainier cherries for freezing, soak them in water and lemon juice for 10 minutes before freezing.
This way, the cherries will look and taste nearly as good as they did at the peak of freshness.
How Can You Tell If Rainier Cherries Are Bad?
It is very easy to spot rainier and other cherries that have gone bad. When buying, they should be firm with no signs of mold. Cherries that are squishy, soft, or leak their juice are bad and should not be purchased.
There are some other things to look for. Rainier cherries have very thin skins and can bruise easily, so you should look for fruit that has clear skin, free from bruising.
Also, buy cherries that still have their stems and they are still pliable and not the consistency of wood.
Some rainier cherries have brown flecks, do not worry about these spots as they indicate sugar accumulation. So, the brown flecks indicate sweetness.
How Can I Pick Good Rainier Cherries In A Grocery Store?
Since the growing season is short, you should be ready to grab rainier cherries as soon as you see them in the market. A good rainier cherry is plump with no signs of bruising on the skin.
Always choose cherries that are plump and firm with no signs of leaking.
Keep in mind that the golden color is their natural color and not a sign that the fruit is not ripe. So when you buy them and get them home, they are ready to eat, there is no need to put them aside to ripen.
How Do You Ripen Rainier Cherries?
There are many different ways to ripen cherries if you purchased them before their peak of ripeness.
You can rinse them and ripen them in a 100 or 200-degree oven. You will have to check on occasion to see if they have the taste you want.
There are some other methods of ripening cherries
Using A Water Bath
Set them in a bowl of water at room temperature and leave them overnight.
Using A Microwave
For this method, you will fill up two bowls with equal amounts of water. Heat one cherry in each bowl for one minute. If the cherries are ripened after one minute, they are ready to be eaten. If not, try them for 1.5 minutes or 2 minutes.
The Paper Bag Method
Remove the cherries from the plastic bag and put them in a paper bag with a ripe banana. The fruit will produce ethylene gas making the cherries ripen. They should be put in a cool, well-ventilated area and out of direct sunlight.
Keep them in the bag for two days and they should be ready to eat. If not, let them stay in the bag for one more day.
How Do You Open Rainier Cherries?
After purchasing and rinsing your cherries, just bite into them, being careful not to bite into the pit in the center of the cherry. This will release the delicious goodness and juice of the cherry.
If you prefer, you can cut and remove the pit, but this will take time and could cause the color of the flesh to become brown due to oxidation. This is why most people tend to enjoy rainier and other types of cherries fresh from the market.
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Can You Grow Rainier Cherries?
You can if you live in the Pacific Northwest. This area contains the sun, soil pH, and sufficient chill hours to bloom properly.
They are not an easy crop to grow in other areas of the U.S. Most of what we consume comes from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and parts of western Canada.
There are many predators that cherry farmers need to contend with, and that is birds. Birds and other wildlife enjoy dining on the sweetness of the cherries; many orchards lose up to 1/3 of their rainier cherry crops due to pests like birds.
Can You Eat Rainier Cherries Raw?
Absolutely, the best way to eat rainier cherries is fresh from the farmer’s market or store. While they are often used in pies and other pastries, they are best eaten raw.
Many use rainier cherries as toppings for ice cream, in fruit salads, and in green salads. When cooked, they are most often found in tarts, pies, and cherry cobblers. Their sweetness also pairs well with chocolate.
Do Rainier Cherries Have Worms?
Well, you may find small worms in many varieties of cherries, including rainier cherries. These are the larvae of the cherry fruit fly.
They lay eggs on the forming fruit. This results in a cherry that may have a shriveled look, so avoid those.
The fruit fly damage can vary greatly each year. To remedy the cherries from these fly larvae, the trees are sprayed with insecticide before the females lay their eggs.
In most cases, several sprays are needed to ensure that the crop will be free from worms.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Rainier Cherries?
If you want to try your hand and cook rainier cherries, the best way to prepare them is to use them in baking.
Cherry tarts, pies, and cobblers are great ways to serve them for dessert. They are great for jellies, jams, and preserves.
You need to consider one thing when using rainier cherries in recipes. They are very sweet, so many home cooks reduce the amount of sugar they add to their pastries and baked goods, so the final product isn’t ultra sweet.
When you have the sugar issue managed, you will be able to create some wonderful desserts to end a meal.
How Do You Clean Rainier Cherries For Eating?
Cleaning rainier cherries is very easy. Remove them from the bag or container they came in from the market, put them in a colander, and rinse them in cool water.
Remove any cherries that have broken open, are leaking juice, are shriveled, or have signs of mold.
If the cherries are not ripe, you should rinse them and apply one of the ripening methods discussed earlier. After the cherries are cleaned, they can last for up to two weeks when kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
Are Rainier Cherries Poisonous To Eat?
No, they are very good to eat and have a lot of nutritious value. They are a great snack and much better than the overly-processed sugar-heavy or salty snacks that many gravitate toward.
As long as you check the cherries when you get them home for signs of mold, worms, and shriveled fruit, you can enjoy all sorts of cherry varietals throughout the summer.
Rainier Cherries Vs. Bing Cherries
Bing is one of the most common types of cherry found in supermarkets. Most people look for the darkest bing cherries, which are considered dark sweet cherries.
One key difference is their color, and the next is their taste. Dark bing cherries can be very sweet, but rainier cherries are nearly always sweet.
Sweet bing cherries are dark red, nearly burgundy. Most produce shoppers know that the darker they are, the sweeter they are. Rainier cherries are gold, pink, red, and orange.
They have a lower acid level and a higher sugar content, which makes rainier cherries sweeter than even the darkest bing cherry.
Rainier cherries are usually available only from mid-June till the beginning of August due to their shorter growing and maturation time.
How Do You Cook Rainier Cherries?
There are many methods for cooking rainier cherries, but the two most common ways are baking them into deliciously sweet tarts, cobblers, and pies. Many find them to be great in jams, jellies, and preserves.
Many chefs are trying new ways to use rainier cherries in their cooking, creating new recipes and using them in unique ways.
One of the recipes we feature is cherry bruschetta. There is no telling what other ways creative chefs will find to use rainier cherries.
How Do You Make Rainier Cherries?
Unless you live in the Northwest U.S. you cannot make rainier cherries and the trees need very specific growing conditions for the trees to be cultivated and produce rainier cherries.
If you find them at your local market, you can purchase them and create your own recipes.
Nutritional Value Of Rainier Cherries
Here is the nutritional value of 1 serving of rainier cherries
- Serving Size: 1 Serving
- Calories: 52
- Carbs: 13g
- Sugar: 11g
- Fiber: 1.7g
- Protein: 0.9g
- Fat: 0.2g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0g
- Sodium: 0mg
- Vitamin C 9.6%
- Vitamin A 1%
- Calcium 0.8
- Magnesium 6%
- Vitamin K 4%
- Manganese 6%
- Iron 1.6%
- Potassium 5%
Rainier Cherry Recipes: Quick Table
|Rainier Cherry Almond Tart||198||55 minutes|
|Cherry Bruschetta||206||15 minutes|
|Rainier Cherry Salsa With Pork Chops||3678||35 minutes|
1. Rainier Cherry Almond Tart
This is a great recipe that highlights the sweetness of rainier cherries. It is a simple recipe that includes items that you already have in your pantry or refrigerator.
You will need a tart pan and about 40 minutes to turn out a delicious tart with a sweet almond cherry taste. The recipe is so simple that even novice cooks can create a delicious dessert in just minutes.
Total Preparation Time: 55 minutes
2. Cherry Bruschetta
If you are looking for a great use for your rainier cherries, here is a great recipe for bruschetta using rainier cherries. You can serve this as a dessert bruschetta due to its delicious sweetness.
Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes
3. Rainier Cherry Salsa With Pork Chops
Here is a great example of how to incorporate rainier cherries into your main meal. A grilled pork chop is accented with a delicious salsa made from a blend of cherries, cilantro, red onion, and jalapenos.
The heat from the jalapeno cuts the sweetness of the cherries to make a great salsa to serve with pork chops or a pork roast.
If you haven’t tried rainier cherries, you will find that the rainier cherries taste so sweet and delightful that you will be looking for ways to incorporate them into some of your favorite dishes.
Total Preparation Time: 35 minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Rainier Cherries Sour Or Sweet?
Rainier cherries has a distinctive sweet flavor and a slightly sour taste. The fruit is very juicy and is best eaten fresh, as it is quite sour when dried.
Should Rainier Cherries Be Refrigerated?
Rainier cherries are a little different from the other cherries. Due to it’s a different pH level and a high water content, so they’re not meant to be refrigerated.
Which Type Of Cherry Is The Best?
There are various varities of cherry flavors are everywhere so there taste, it can be difficult to know which type of cherry is the best. The most popular types of cherries include the black cherry, the red cherry, and the sour cherry. .
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