Australian cherries are available from November to late February. Different varieties are harvested at different times, so what consumers see in the shops in November is different to what is available in January.
There are two main cherry species:
- Sweet Cherries (Prunus avium L.) are often sold as generic fresh cherries.
- Sour Cherries (Prunus cerasus L.) are mostly used in processed products such as freezing, canning and juices or typically preserved and used in cooking or for making cherry brandy.
There are over 50 cherry varieties in commercial production in Victoria and many more undergoing evaluation as potential varieties.
Some of the most popular varieties are (in order of maturity):
A great early maturing variety, it had large sweet fruit with excellent flavour
One of Australia's leading varieties, it tastes great, is extremely firm and is great for cooking or preserving.
"Bing is King" is what they say around the world. This variety excels in flavour and eating quality and is the predominant export variety from Australia and the USA.
These cherries can be huge, they look great just in time for Christmas with a meaty dark texture.
This variety extends the season into the new year and can be massive in size and taste.
A newer heart shaped variety that is one of the last maturing in the season, it is redder in colour but as the name suggests is "sweet".