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Rainier Cherries

If you think regular cherries are sweet, wait till you’ve tried Rainier Cherries. Developed in 1952 by Washington State University’s Harold Fogle for their breeding program, Rainier Cherries have unsurpassed sweetness. For those that haven’t tried them, think of the sweetest cherry you’ve tried, bump the sweetness up a couple of notches, then add a caramel undertone finish, that’s a Rainier Cherry. Rainier Cherries are also identified by their half-golden, half-red color.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Rosales
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Genus: Prunus
  • Species: P. avium
  • Binomial name: Prunus avium
  • Cultivar: ‘Rainier’

Rainier Cherry Trivia

  • In Japan, individual rainier cherries can go for up to a dollar each.
  • The window for harvesting perfect Rainier Cherries can be as short as two weeks.
  • The Rainier Cherry is known as the Champagne of Cherries.
  • Birds usually eat up to 1/3 of a Rainier Cherry crop.

Rainier Cherry Buying Guide

Since Rainier Cherries are a “premium” cherry, it’s best to get the most bang for your buck when buying them. Choose Rainier Cherries that still have their stems attached and make sure that the stems are still pliable and not woody. Choose Rainier Cherries that look plump and have no visible scarring or bruising. The golden hue of the fruit is their natural color. This doesn’t mean that it’s underripe. Brown flecks are generally not defects but is actually a good sign of sugar accumulation. This means, more brown flecks, the sweeter the Rainier Cherry is.

Rainier Cherry Production & Farming in Texas

Sweet cherry variants don’t fare well in Texas; this goes doubly for Rainier Cherries due to its complex weather requirements. So don’t expect to find any locally grown Rainier Cherries in Texas anytime soon. Some home growers have shown success in growing them, but the fruit crop isn’t as good as those grown in Washington State.

Pesticides:

While there are no specific pesticide residue tests done on Rainier Cherries, it is worth noting that Cherries in general, rank very high on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list for pesticide contamination. No amount of washing will remove these pesticide residues from cherries.

Tip: Since you’re already going to be paying a premium for Rainier Cherries, go for the ones that are certified organic. Not only are you protecting yourself from problems caused by chemicals, but you’re also doing your part for the environment.

Geography:

Rainier Cherry Trees need full sun in loam soil with a pH range of 5.5-8.0. They also require at least 700 chill hours to bloom properly. Rainier Cherry trees are notorious for early blooming, so their flowers can be easily wiped out by a late freeze. They also require pollination by the following cherry variants: Bing, Van, Lambert, Lapins, and Black Tartarian.

Packaging:

Rainier Cherries are usually packed in rigid plastic clamshell boxes to prevent bruising as their skins are quite thin. Bulk boxes are also available for larger customers.

Enjoying Rainier Cherries

Rainier Cherries can be consumed just like any other cherry, just give them a good wash and enjoy them. Just be mindful of the pit in the middle as they can be quite hard.

Storage:

Never store Rainier Cherries, or any other Cherry, at room temperature. If possible, store them at the coldest part of your fridge where they can stay good for up to two weeks. It would be advisable to insert some paper towels with your Rainier Cherries to absorb any condensation or moisture.

You can also freeze pitted rainier cherries for a few months, but why would you want to? They’re delicious fresh.

Cooking:

Due to their natural sweetness, Rainier Cherries are best consumed in their raw form. They can also be used as toppings for other desserts, ice cream, and salads, both fruit, and greens.

Rainier cherries can also be used in baked goodies such as tarts, pies, and cobblers.

Nutrition:

Rainier Cherries, Natural Tree Candies

  • Carbs
    • Since Rainier Cherries are sweeter than other cherry variants, it follows that they have higher sugar content.
    • Even though they are quite sweet, the glycemic load of Rainier Cherries ranges from 3-7 per serving, which is quite low for something this sweet.
    • If you are monitoring your sugar and carbohydrate levels, try limiting your consumption to about a dozen cherries a day.
  • Fiber
    • One piece of cherry contains approximately 1% of the RDI for fiber.
      • Fiber helps you move your bowels regularly, which in turn flushes out all of the bad stuff from your gut.
    • Vitamins and minerals:
      • Rainier Cherries can actually help you sleep! They contain good amounts of melatonin, which promotes healthy sleep patterns.
      • Rainier Cherries are also good for the heart! They are an extremely good source of potassium, which reduces blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension and stroke.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 52
  • Carbs: 13g 4%
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Fiber: 1.7g 7%
  • Protein: 0.9g
  • Fat: 0.2g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0g 0%
  • Sodium 0mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 9.6%
  • Vitamin A 1%
  • Calcium 0.8%
  • Iron 1.6%
  • Potassium 180mg 5%
  • Magnesium 6%
  • Vitamin K 4%
  • Manganese 6%

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