What are morello cherries?

Morello cherry tree

Morello is quite simply the classic cooking cherry. Other supposedly improved varieties have come and gone over the years but only Morellos endures. Its medium sized bright red fruits hang on the tree in a decorous display and this is a hardier option for northern area’s that will even do well in a slightly shaded position. Morello is self fertile and usually ripens during late June and early July.
The fruits are generally too tart to be eaten fresh but they have many versatile kitchen uses. As it is almost impossible to buy true cooking cherries in the shops this makes it a very useful tree to have. You can turn the bounty into your own cherry pies, cherry compote, cherry juice, add them to natural yogurts, freeze them and make a wonderfully flavourful cherry jam!
Morello is self fertile so no pollinators are needed. An easy cherry variety to grow.
Tree sizes for Morello cherry trees:
Colt is a semi-vigorous tree, ideal for orchard planting, grassy areas, paddock or larger lawn. It can grow to 300cm’s+ in height – and width, but is fairly adaptable and can be controlled It is the best stock for bush growing, fan training, or festooning. More tolerant of poorer soils, although these should always be improved for best results.
Gisele 5 stock This is the revolutionary new dwarfing stock for cherries which has made the cultivation of these delicious fruits on the patio, in containers, or the fruit cage a realistic possibility at last. Gisele 5 is easily maintained at around 180cm’s in height and width, even a little less in a container. This stock is more precocious than the more vigorous older rootstocks. Ideal for bush growing, or as a column, but not really suited to fan training. Best with good soil conditions.

Cherry Tree – Morello

Origin: Unknown
Cherry Type: Culinary
Rootstock: Avium
Size : Maiden
Harvest : August

Prunus cerasus ‘Morello’ was introduced to Britain by the Romans, but has only really been popular since the 18th century. Flowers later than sweet cherries, so a more reliable cropper as it will miss the frosts. Will also do well on east or north facing walls. As a sour cherry it is mostly used for cooking, and is self fertile. Fifty years ago there were over 50 varietals of Morello cherries being cultivated. Like all cherry trees, its attractive spring blossom is helpful for a range of pollinators including bees.

Supplier : R.V. Roger Ltd.
We donate half of our profits on sales of Morello cherry trees to Common Ground

Please note that we also sell several varieties of edible wild cherry, or “mazzard”, and recommend our fruit tree planting kits for all new fruit trees.

All our cherry trees are bare root. At the height of the lifting season – between November and March – there may be up to a month’s delay between placing the order and dispatching due to pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence, and the weather. Orders for Morello cherry trees from March to September are confirmed in late October/ early November ready for dispatch from November. Please consult our planting and care guide on receipt of your order.

Morello Cherry Trees


Morello is the best sour cooking cherry tree for Britain. Smaller that sweet cherries with twiggy branches and a greener foliage they flower very late, avoiding the last of the spring frosts. A reason to recommend them for Scotland and the North and can fruit well on north facing walls in the South. Delicious for jams, pies and for making alcohol.

Cropping in August and smaller than an eating cherry they are ready for cooking when they turn dark red. They freeze remarkable well

Rich fertile well drained aerated soil is essential- dig in plenty of good manure and compost before planting. Plant only in a sunny position for a good performance. Pruning is usually limited to removing dead, diseased or congested growth in early summer. Sour cherries are mostly unbothered by disease or pests. Well loved by birds and their flowers are good for bees and other insects.

Self fertile.
Pollination F
Resistant to canker.
Avoid late spring frosts.
Need mulch and a monthly seaweed solution.
Freeze well.
Crop in August.


Article by David Marks

The Morello variety produces cherries which are ideal for cooking. Some call them acid cherries others call them cooking cherries. Forget letting them ripen fully and eating them (as some suggest) uncooked, they are still over-acidic. Out of all the cooking cherry varieties the Morello is supreme in the UK. It is self-fertile, rarely damaged by frost and produces large crops.

The existence of the “Crown Morello” is a total mystery. It is a Morello in all but name yet it grows larger than the normal variety which can be unsuitable for most small to medium sized gardens. If you want a cooking cherry tree, our advice is to stick with the Morello.

Use the checklist below to decide if the Morello variety is correct for you and your garden. If this is not the correct variety, see our cherry tree varieties page, to select another variety which may suit you better.

  • The fruits are produced late season, ready for harvesting, on average, in the third to last weeks of July.
  • Fruits are smaller than sweet cherry trees but this is normal for this type of tree. They are mid red and have a very acidic but full flavour, perfect for pies, jams, tarts and flavouring.
  • The picking period lasts a week. They freeze extremely well if the end purpose is for cooking.
  • Morello cherries have been grown in the UK for over 400 years. The parents of this variety are unknown
  • This variety reliably produces a large amount of fruit.
  • Disease resistance is good all round. They produce fruit in all but the coldest parts of the UK. It has been given an Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Morello is self-fertile and does not need a pollination partner.
  • It is fully hardy in all parts of the UK (however, see above about blossom).


Morello is often to be found in your local garden centre and is also available online from a several suppliers. We can particularly recommend Victoriana Nursery who sell this cherry tree variety. If you you can benefit from the 10% discount we have negotiated for our readers, not only for cherry cherry trees but all the plants, shrubs and trees they sell.

Picture from public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.


Morello is in pollination group 4, self-fertile, it does not require a pollination partner and will produce a large crop of fruit as a stand alone tree. The following varieties, commonly grown in the UK, can be pollinated by Morello:

  • Van, pollination group 3, eating variety
  • Penny, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
  • Summer Sun, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
  • Merton Bigarreau, pollination group 4, cooking variety
  • Stella, pollination group 4, eating variety
  • Sunburst, pollination group 4, eating variety
  • Napoleon, pollination group 4 to 5, cooking variety


On Colt rootstock Morello will grow to about 3.5m / 11ft tall when it has reached maturity after about 7 years. It can easily be pruned to reach a maximum height of 2m / 7ft. On Gisela 5 rootstock it will grow into a 2m / 6ft tall tree but will need more care than if grown on a Colt rootstock.


The following are the key rules for growing this variety, for more detailed information about growing and pruning cherry trees:

  • Plant and grow in a semi-shade or full sun position. It is sometimes claimed that Morello cherry trees will grow in full shade or north facing positions. This is true but your tree will suffer to some degree in these situations
  • The best time to plant Morello is in late autumn to early winter. It can be planted at other times of year but will require watering more frequently to ensure it establishes well.
  • Plant the tree to the same depth as it was in the pot. If planting bare-rooted trees you will see a natural soil mark just above the roots which indicates the correct depth for planting.
  • Spread an 8cm / 3in layer of mulch around the base of the tree but not touching the main trunk. A mulched circle of about 1m / 3ft will be sufficient. This will retain moisture in the soil below and greatly help the tree to establish well.
  • Water very well, immediately after planting.
  • Stake the tree for life on a Gisela 5 rootstock. On Colt rootstock the tree will only need staking for the first two years of its life.
  • In the first summer after planting the tree, water well if conditions become dry.
  • Prune Morello in the first year according to the suppliers instructions. Prune annually immediately after flowering in later years, in mid-April to mid may. See our detailed article on pruning cherry trees. Note that the Morello cherry tree produces most of its fruit on one year old wood so is pruned (as explained in our pruning article) in a slightly different way compared to sweet cherries.
  • An annual mulch in late Spring will help to retain moisture and an even supply of water.
  • If any pests or diseases appear treat them as soon as possible. Consult our cherry tree pest and disease page for detailed information on identifying and treating problems.

Plant Finder

English Morello Cherry fruit

English Morello Cherry fruit

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

* This is a “special order” plant – contact store for details

Height: 20 feet

Spread: 15 feet


Hardiness Zone: 4b

Other Names: Sour Cherry


A compact-growing fruit tree, an ideal size for backyard orchards; showy white flowers in spring followed by loads of dark red sour cherries in mid summer, excellent for pies and jam; needs full sun and well-drained soil, self-pollinating and hardy

Edible Qualities

English Morello Cherry is a small tree that is typically grown for its edible qualities. It produces dark red round fruit (technically ‘drupes’) with red flesh which are usually ready for picking from mid to late summer. Note that the fruits have hard inedible pits inside which must be removed before eating or processing. The fruits have a sour taste and a juicy texture.

The fruit are most often used in the following ways:

  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Juice-Making
  • Drying

Features & Attributes

English Morello Cherry is blanketed in stunning clusters of fragrant white flowers along the branches in mid spring before the leaves. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves turn an outstanding orange in the fall. The fruits are showy dark red drupes carried in abundance in mid summer. The fruit can be messy if allowed to drop on the lawn or walkways, and may require occasional clean-up. The smooth dark red bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

This is a deciduous tree with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition. This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Aside from its primary use as an edible, English Morello Cherry is sutiable for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Orchard/Edible Landscaping

Planting & Growing

English Morello Cherry will grow to be about 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 15 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years. This is a self-pollinating variety, so it doesn’t require a second plant nearby to set fruit.

This tree is typically grown in a designated area of the yard because of its mature size and spread. It should only be grown in full sunlight. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.

* This is a “special order” plant – contact store for details

(Prunus cerasus)


Evans tart cherry

Compared to other common tree fruits, cultivar choices for P. cerasus are limited, but those that are available are hardy, adaptable and self-fertile, which limits the need for additional cultivar selection. The gold standard for the tart cherry processing industry continues to be ‘Montmorency’, which was selected in Montmorency, France, more than 400 years ago.

There are two types of tart cherry, ‘Morello’ and ‘Amarelle’. ‘Amarelle’ are bright red with clear to yellow flesh. Consumers are most familiar with this type because ‘Montmorency’ is in this group and is the most widely grown cherry for processing. ‘Morello’ types have a dark red fruit with red flesh and dark red juice. Often overlooked in the U.S., this type is of particular interest because the intense pigmentation indicates high anthocyanin levels associated with enhanced nutritional benefits. (See NC State reference, below.)

All cherries are known to be excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and nutraceuticals. They are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the sleep cycle (See references, below.)

Observations at Carandale Farm

Meteor tart cherry plantings in Carandale’s commercial orchard. The tree in the background is 37 years old.

Tart cherries have been part of the commercial fruit orchard at Carandale Farm for more than 40 years. ‘Meteor’ has been and continues to be a reliable producer of good quality ‘Amarelle’-type fruit. The semi-dwarf tree has dense foliage that seems to discourage major bird predation. ‘Northstar’ is a dwarf tree that produces ‘Morello’-type fruit, but it had a short life span in the commercial planting. Fruit quality wasn’t consistent, and it was attractive to birds.

Based on past experience with tart cherries of both types (‘Amarelle’ and ‘Morello’), Carandale growers were excited to read about an option that might combine the benefits of both. ‘Evans’ (also called ‘Bali’) was being promoted as “the best-selling fruit tree on the Canadian Prairie. Incredibly hardy, possibly even to Zone 2. Large, even huge, crops of English ‘Morello’-type fruit virtually every year.” (See Fedco Trees reference, below.)

Dormant Evans tart cherry tree

In the spring of 2004, five trees were purchased from St. Lawrence Nurseries. These natural dwarf trees were started from tissue culture, so they are on their own rootstock (not grafted). The trees were small but transplanted well. They have had good resistance to most insect and disease pressure but have shown susceptibility to cherry leaf spot. The tree size, productivity and winter hardiness have met expectations, but the big disappointment is that they are not a ‘Morello’-type cherry and therefore do not have the enhanced anthocyanins, which was a major reason for the trial. (St. Lawrence Nurseries did not promote them as a ‘Morello’-Type cherry, but many other sources did, and continue to do so.)

‘Evans’ is a good cultivar, and if it lives up to its winter hardiness claims, it would still be a good choice for northern areas. Compared to ‘Meteor’, the fruit ripens a little later, may be slightly larger, has comparable yields and is somewhat sweeter when dead ripe. The fruit is softer and may have more handling damage. Susceptibility to brown rot appears to to be about the same.

USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Sour Cherries
Fedco Trees: Evans Pie Cherry
North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension information on Tart Cherry

Fruits are pretty complicated. People have been cultivating various strains of our favorite fruits for thousands of years, meaning that we’ve got lots of exciting culinary options to choose from. Exciting doesn’t always mean accessible, however. If you’ve ever bought a granny smith apple to enjoy raw, for example, you almost certainly know that there’s a world of difference between different strains of the same fruit. Morello cherries are another great example of a delicious fruit that’s different than other members of the cherry family.

What Are Morello Cherries?

While you can buy something called a “Morello cherry,” the name Morello actually refers to a family of sour cherries. The fruit sports a distinctive very dark red skin that’s so dark it’s nearly brown. The flesh and juice of the cherries are also quite dark. Morello cherries are slightly more tart than other popular varieties of sour cherries.

Morello cherries have become more popular over the last century or so. This is because the trees themselves flower later in the year, making them easier to grow in popular cherry-farming climates.

When cherries are advertised as being “Morello cherries” and not another variety, this usually means that they’re English Morello cherries or Hungarian Morello cherries. Both of these cherry families are highly sought after by cooks all around the world. These aren’t the only types of Morello cherries, however. You’ll also find Balaton, Heimanns Konservenweishsel, Fanal, Kansas Sweet, Krassa Severa, Koroser Langenstein, Northstar, and Schattenmorelle cherries in the Morello family.

Like other sour cherries, Morello cherries are quite sour. While you can eat them raw (and you should definitely try at least one), they’re more commonly used in pies, drinks, desserts, and other recipes. Here are a few of the easiest ways you can use Morello cherries in your kitchen.

Morello Cherry Recipies

1. Eat Them Raw

Sour cherries are pretty sour, but they’re not sourer than a sour candy. If you enjoy tart foods, you might just eat them by the handful. If you find that they’re slightly too tart on their own, keep reading to find out how to sweeten them while preserving their wonderful fruity flavor.

2. Cherry Syrup

The easiest way to add Morello cherries to a recipe is to make a cherry syrup. Here’s how:

Cherry Syrup Ingredients:
2 cups cherries, pitted
1/8th cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Cherry Syrup Directions:
Add sugar, water, and cherries to a saucepan. Boil for about ten minutes or until ingredients are well blended and have a syrup-like consistency. Jar and refrigerate. Serve over breakfast foods (pancakes, waffles, and the like), ice cream, or even soda.

If you find that your syrup isn’t “bright” enough, consider adding a squeeze of lemon while you boil it.

3. Cherry Pie

A true American classic, cherry pie is best made with sour cherries like Morellos. Here’s one take on this timeless recipe:

Cherry Pie Ingredients:
2 9-inch pie crusts (1 for the top and 1 for the bottom), prepared separately
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 cups cherries, pitted
2 tbsp butter
several drops almond extract (optional)

Cherry Pie Directions:

1. Begin to preheat your oven to 375.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat cherries on medium-low heat until they’ve given off quite a lot of juice. This usually takes a few minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. Pour in the hot cherries and stir. If you’d like, you can add a few drops of almond extract.
4. Pour the mixed ingredients back into your saucepan and cook on low heat until the mixture gets quite thick, stirring often. Adjust the consistency to your liking by adding water (to thin) and cornstarch (to thicken). When you’re happy, remove your filling from the heat and let it cool off.
5. Take your pre-prepared pie crust and place the bottom section in a pan. Carefully pour in the cooled filling, then dot the pie with butter. Gently moisten the edge of your crust, then add the top and flute the edges to seal. Before cooking, make several slits in the top for steam to escape and consider dusting the top of your pie with sugar.
6. Bake the pie for 45 minutes to an hour at 375. When the crust is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack.

Truthfully, the hardest part of this recipe is making the crust. If you’re not an expert cook, consider simply buying a pre-made crust at the store. This will make the whole process a lot easier. If you’re more experienced, of course, there’s nothing wrong with making a crust yourself!

3. Cherry Cobbler

When pies are too hard, turn to cobbler! This easy recipe allows you to enjoy a wonderful dessert without fiddling with two crusts.

Cherry Cobbler Ingredients

2 cups cherries, pitted
1/8 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup butter, melted

Cherry Cobbler Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350.

2. Next, prepare the filling. Just like with cherry pie, you’ll want to sweat your cherries over medium heat until they’ve released lots of juice. Next, mix the heated cherries with cornstarch and sugar. Finally, cook this blend over low heat until it’s thick enough to be used as cobbler filling. Let it cool off while you make the pastry.

3. Mix the sugar, flour, milk, and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Simply combine the ingredients well with a whisk, fork, or another tool.

4. Pour the melted butter into an oven-safe baking dish. Next, pour in your pastry batter. Don’t stir! Finally, pour the cobbler filling over your batter. Again, don’t stir.

5. Bake the cobbler for 45 to 50 minutes. When it’s done the crust should be a nice golden brown color. Be sure to let it cool for at least 5 minutes before you serve it!

For some people, this cobbler will come out of the oven upside down. Others will prefer to enjoy it with the filling side up. Either way, this dish will prove to be a big hit at all of your social gatherings.

Utilizing Morello Cherry Syrup

The recipes above should give you lots of ideas for utilizing your Morello cherries. For me, the most important one is the recipe for cherry syrup. This is because unlike the other two recipes, you can combine cherry syrup with dozens of delicious foods to make something that’s truly new and unique. Here are some ideas.

1. Cherry Pudding

Whether you’re enjoying rice pudding, vanilla pudding, or a homemade custard, consider livening things up with a dollop of homemade Morello cherry syrup. You’ll find that the sweet, tart taste of your cherry syrup serves as the perfect accent for your custard-like desserts. It goes great with chocolate pudding, too!

2. Cherry Yogurt

Yogurt is a healthy staple of the modern diet. Try getting plain (or vanilla) yogurt and flavoring it yourself with your cherry syrup. This will give you a bold, intense flavor that’s totally natural and incredibly delicious.

3. Cherry Ice Cream

Instead of using the cherries to flavor ice cream as you make it, try pouring the sauce over vanilla ice cream. if you want to go totally crazy for cherries, serve cherry pie alongside vanilla ice cream and pour some cherry sauce on top of the ice cream.

4. Cherry Drinks

Adding a spoonful of cherry syrup to rum, brandy, and other alcoholic drinks can give you some pretty neat cocktails. If you’ve got kids in the house you can simply add cherry syrup to club soda to get a wonderful virgin drink. Cherry syrup isn’t quite the same as grenadine, but it’s pretty close. This means you can use it to make Roy Rogers, Shirley Temples, and other famous drinks at home.

5. Cherry Breakfasts

Pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast foods go very well with cherry syrup. Add some homemade whipped cream and plenty of butter for a delicious breakfast that you’ll remember for quite a while.

Morello Cherries: Tart, But Still Delicious

While the bold flavor of Morello cherries might be too much to enjoy raw, these fruits are perfect when sweetened and used to accent other dishes. If you find that you’ve got a sudden surplus of Morello cherries in your kitchen, be sure to experiment with all of the recipes above. You’ll love both the baked goods and the fun combinations of foods you can make with cherry syrup.

9 Marvelously Easy Ways to Preserve Morello Cherries

Amazingly delicious, morello cherries are packed with essential nutrients, and are associated with a number of unique health benefits. This wonderful little superfruit is now becoming a part of many health drinks and diets. Tastessence presents some easy ways of preserving morello cherries.

Did You Know?

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that sour cherries ranked 14 in the top 50 foods for highest antioxidant content per serve.

Sweet cherry (Prunus avium) and sour cherry (Prunus cerasus) are species that belong to the sub-genus Cerasus (cherries) of the genus Prunus. Sour cherry is also known as wild cherry, tart cherry, and dwarf cherry. The dark-red morello cherry and the lighter-red amarelle cherry are two varieties of the sour cherry. Sour cherry trees are popular amongst gardeners because they suffer from fewer pests and diseases as compared to sweet cherry trees. And unlike the sweet cherry varieties, sour cherries are self fertile (self pollenizing). These trees require cold weather and well-drained soil. They grow well in most temperate latitudes. A well-maintained tree can produce more than 100 pounds of fruit per season.

Like berries, cherries are also packed with health-promoting, cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Very few natural foods contain the hormone melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle and acts as a mood enhancer. Sour cherries are a good source of this hormone. Most tart cherries are not consumed as fresh fruit, but they are perfect for stuff like jams, pies, ice creams, juices, etc. They can be preserved and consumed as and when required.

What is a Morello Cherry?

The sour cherry is native to Europe and southwest Asia. The most well-known variety is the morello. It is a late flowering variety, and produces a mahogany red (crimson-to-near-black) fruit, which is more acidic than the common sweet cherry. It can be eaten fresh when fully ripe (when it turns nearly black). The red flesh or the dark red juice are very attractive and tempting. These cherries are tangy, rather than sour. When cooked, morellos impart a strong-rich cherry flavor to the dish.

In most parts of Europe, morellos ripen late in July or early August. Cherries are harvested when ripe; they do not ripen off the tree. Here are some easy ways for preserving morello cherries.

How to Preserve Morello Cherries

Morello Spread

➺ To make a jam or spread from these cherries, remove the stems and wash the cherries thoroughly. You can use a pitter or a stoner for pitting the cherries.
➺ Add some lemon juice to water and keep the pitted cherries in that water for some time. This prevents discoloration.
➺ You can chop the cherries or grind them if you wish. Whole cherries (or cherries cut in halves) may not form a consistent jam. They are likely to remain suspended in the sugar solution.
➺ Bake the cherries in an oven or cook them along with sugar. If you have 4 cups of cherries, take 4 cups of sugar (if the cherries are sour). Add some pectin. Let the mixture boil. Simmer, and remove it from heat as it thickens.
➺ If you want, you can add some more pectin to the mixture, when the cherries are cooked. Boil the mixture again.
➺ It is better to remove the layer of foam on the surface of the mixture, before pouring it into an air-tight jar. It can lead to bacterial contamination and can reduce the shelf-life of the fruit.
➺ Keep the jar in a cool, dark place, or refrigerate it. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within a week or so.

Morello Cherries in Syrup

➺ To make the syrup, add 3.75 cups of sugar to 8.25 cups of water and boil.
➺ Simmer, for about 5 minutes.
➺ If you are going to fill the cherries and syrup in pint or quart freezer bags, then add one cup of syrup to each quart of cherries. Leave some space at the top of the bags. Squeeze out the air and seal the bags.
➺ You may pour the cherries and the syrup in jars. Clean the rim, adjust the lid, and seal it.
➺ Process the jars by placing them into a pressure canner.

Morellos in Kirschwasser

➺ Morellos in kirschwasser is a simple and easy way of preserving the cherries. If you have a morello cherry jar (12 oz), drain the cherries, place them in a bowl.
➺ Keep the juice aside.
➺ Add one cup of sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and some lemon zest to the cherries. Let the mixture stand for half an hour.
➺ Pour the cherry juice in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add some pectin to it. Boil the mixture for a couple of minutes.
➺ Then add the cherries, 1 tablespoon kirschwasser, and a pinch of salt to the boiling juice. Let the mixture boil for 4 – 5 minutes.
➺ Remove it from the stove and allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, pour it into an air-tight jar. You can use this mixture for different sauces, vinaigrette, dessert topping, pastry filling, etc.


➺ Kirschwasser (cherry water / liqueur, also known as kirsch in America) is a colorless fruit brandy. Traditionally, it is made from double distillation of morello cherries. The kirsch liqueur making process takes a year to complete, but you would enjoy making your own kirschwasser at home.
➺ Remove the stems, clean the cherries and remove the pits.
➺ Take a wide-mouthed glass jar and place a layer of cherries in it. Cover this layer with a layer of granulated sugar. Then again, place a layer of cherries and cover it with sugar. You would need about one pound of granulated sugar for two pounds of cherries.
➺ Continue adding layers of cherries and sugar, and when the jar is full, place the lid and refrigerate the jar.
➺ Next day, take out the jar and add a bottle of unflavored vodka to it. Keep the mixture away from sunlight, in a cool dark place in a shelf.
➺ Everyday, without opening the lid, shake the mixture well. After 6 months, strain the liqueur from the jar into another clean glass jar that has an airtight lid. Your kirsch is ready!
➺ Store this kirsch liqueur in the refrigerator for another 6 months. Aging would make it perfect. You may sip it on the rocks, can add it to sparkling wine/cola, or can use it as a dessert topping. It is used in black forest cake, and as a topping or filling for tarts.

Morello Cherry Sauce

➺ To make morello cherry sauce, take one liter water and add one cup of sugar to it.
➺ Heat it, when the sugar dissolves, add about 180 g of pitted cherries to it.
➺ Add some lemon zest and two small pieces of cinnamon. Let the mixture boil. Simmer it for 20 – 25 minutes.
➺ It will become thick and syrupy.
➺ Remove it from the heat. Add four teaspoons of lemon juice and two teaspoons of brandy.
➺ Let it cool down. Store it in a jar and serve it over ice-creams.

Drying in an Oven

➺ To dry the cherries, cut the cherries in halves and remove the pits.
➺ Spread them on a paper napkin to dry, or pat them dry with a napkin.
➺ Place them on baking sheets, with pit cavity up. Leave some space in between two cherries.
➺ For the first 3 – 4 hours, let the temperature be 165 degrees F.
➺ After about 3 – 4 hours, you will see the cherries shriveling. Reduce the temperature to 135 degrees F.
➺ After about 16 – 24 hours of heating, cherries would be completely dehydrated. When done, they would look like raisins. Try squeezing a couple of cherries. No liquid should come out.
➺ The dehydrated cherries would be somewhat sticky and a little bit harder too.

Drying in the Sun

➺ If you live in a region which receives ample sunlight, you can dry the cherries in the sun.
➺ Place the cleaned, dry cherries on the trays, and cover them with a cheesecloth (to avoid dust, insects, etc.).
➺ Leave them in the sun for 3 – 4 days. If the humidity and the temperature are suitable, you will get naturally dehydrated cherries within 4 days. Store them in airtight containers away from direct light or heat.

Drying in a Dehydrator

➺ After pitting, place the cherries in ice-cream trays. Cover them with a little sugar, and freeze. Frozen cherries dry better and faster.
➺ Next day, take them out and let them thaw out. They might take one whole day for this.
➺ Hand squeeze the cherries and store the juice in a glass bottle. Refrigerate it and use it whenever you want.
➺ Place a wax paper at the bottom of your dehydrator. Spread the cherries on racks.
➺ At 135 degrees F., the cherries would dry completely. It might take about 16 – 24 hours to complete the process.
➺ The time taken to dry the cherries may vary according to the type of dehydrator used. It will also depend upon the moisture in the cherries. 1 Kg of dried morello cherries is equivalent to around 17 Kg of fresh cherries.

Canning Morello Cherries

➺ Cherries can be canned in water, apple juice, white grape juice, or syrup. If you want to use a syrup, use heavy syrup (3.25 cups of sugar added to 5 cups of water will give you about 6.5 cups of syrup) for sour cherries.
➺ To avoid discoloration of the stem-end, place the pitted cherries in water containing ascorbic acid. (Add 1 teaspoon or 3 g of ascorbic acid to 1 gallon of water.)
➺ Place the drained cherries in a large sauce pan, add the syrup, and bring to a boil. Pour the liquid into a jar, leaving ½” headspace. Clean the top edge of the jar and adjust the lid. Process in a boiling water bath or pressure canner.
➺ There exist different ways of canning. You can get the cherries canned at a professional canning unit. You are supposed to process (boil) the jars longer at higher altitudes than sea level. Larger jars also need to be processed for an extended period of time.

Refrigerated fresh cherries should be consumed within 3 days. Canned or dehydrated cherries can be kept for a year or so. You can use them for topping desserts and yogurts, garnishing salads, enriching your breakfast cereal, or you can even incorporate them in pies and cakes.

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All About Cherries

Learn a bit about these beautiful stone fruits–and find plenty of recipes for both sweet and sour cherries!

There are two kinds of cherries: sweet (the most common kind) and sour (the pie kind).

  • Cherry Recipes

Sweet Cherries
Sweet cherries (Prunus avium) are the most commonly available types of cherries in the United States; with their high sugar content, they are perfect for eating out of hand. One of the most popular varieties of sweet cherry is the Bing.

  • Bing cherries range from dark red to almost black. They are firm but juicy, and very sweet when properly ripened.
  • Rainier cherries are golden with a pink blush on their skin, and their flesh is yellow to transparent. These cherries have a very sweet and delicate flavor, and like all cherries, they bruise easily.
  • Lamberts are heart-shaped beauties with dark red flesh and skin. Their sweet, rich flavor and juicy, meaty flesh make them a favorite for eating fresh as well as for cooking.
  • Royal Ann cherries have golden-pink skin and flesh. They are difficult to find fresh; most Royal Anns are used to make maraschino cherries.

These beautiful stone fruits are only at their peak for about a month each summer. So don’t hold back, treat yourself to cherries when they’re ripe!

Image zoom Photo by SunnyByrd

Sour Cherries
Sour cherries (Prunus cerasus, named for the Turkish city of Cerasus) are rarely available fresh; most are immediately processed. Sour cherries are smaller and rounder than sweet ones, and do not keep well once they’ve been picked.

  • Montmorency cherries are the most common variety. They have bright red skin and beige, juicy flesh.
  • Morello cherries are more common in Europe. They are dark red and extremely tart, and their blood-red juice is often used for making liqueurs.

When sour cherries are at their peak, most of them are picked and pitted, then immediately frozen, canned, or dried. When buying frozen or canned sour cherries, check the label to see if they have already been sweetened so that you can adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe accordingly.

Image zoom Photo by Scott M.

Choosing Cherries
Cherries don’t ripen further once they’re picked. They are very delicate fruits, and need to be treated with care.

  • Look at the stems of the cherries: those with plump, bendable stems have been picked recently. If the cherry stems are shriveled and brittle, the cherries are older and will be past their prime before long.
  • Choose cherries with stems still attached; this helps them maintain their freshness.
  • Select cherries with firm, smooth, unblemished skin, and buy only as many as you plan to eat in the next few days.
  • Keep them separated from strong-smelling foods, as cherries can absorb odors.
  • For best results, store them refrigerated in a plastic bag with holes in it, and don’t wash your cherries until you’re ready to use them

More Sweet Cherry Recipes

  • Baked Fresh Cherry Pie
  • Cherry Clafouti
  • Chicken-Cherry Pie

More Sour Cherry Recipes

  • Cherry Almond Bread
  • Drupey Pie (Apricot, Nectarine & Sour Cherry Pie)
  • Kevin’s Cherry Tart
  • Cold Cherry Soup

Related Tips & Advice

  • Top 10 Pie Tips
  • How to Bake a Pie Crust
  • Baking Fruit Pies

Kersen – misschien wel het lekkerste Nederlandse fruit. Van juni tot en met augustus zo’n beetje is het kersentijd in Nederland. Veel oude en nieuwe hoog- en laagstamrassen volgen elkaar op in de oogstperiode, zodat we lang kunnen genieten van vers fruit uit onze directe omgeving. De Ark van de Smaak Commissie heeft tien hoogstam kersenrassen geselecteerd voor opname in de Ark van de Smaak. Het gaat om rassen die van oudsher in Nederland geteeld zijn en die opvallen door hun smaak, aroma, uiterlijk en toepassingsmogelijkheden.
Een aantal wordt al sinds eeuwen geteeld op de stroomruggen van de Kromme Rijn. Andere komen meer voor in andere regio’s als de Betuwe, Brabant en Groningen. Soms zijn ze oorspronkelijk afkomstig uit andere streken of landen, maar hebben ze door de specifieke kwaliteiten van de grond (terroir), zelf ook specifieke lokale kwaliteiten gekregen.
Het gaat om de volgende tien rassen (in volgorde van oogsttijd):
Vroege Duitse of Vroege van Spithoven (middelgroot, donkerrood, vlezig, zoet)
Maaikers of Meikers (klein, donkerrood, zacht, rond, fris van smaak)
Variks Zwart (klein, zeer donker, zacht, zoet)
Mierlo’s Zwart (klein, donker, zacht, zoet)
Westerleesche Kriek (middelgroot, helderrood, stevig, rins tot zuur)
Wijnkers (middelgroot, donker, glanzend, sappig, zoet)
Hedelfinger (groot, helderrood, stevig, zoetzuur)
Spekkers (klein, in veel kleuren van geel tot donker oranje, stevig, rins)
Inspecteur Löhnis (klein tot middelgroot, donker, langwerpig, stevig, zoet)
Morel (klein tot middelgroot, helderrood, steig, zuur)
Er zijn steeds minder kersenboomgaarden met hoogstamfruit. Hoogstamfruit is kwetsbaarder voor weersinvloeden en vraat door vogels en de pluk is moeilijk en kostbaar. Kersentelers gaan daarom steeds meer over op laagstamfruit, dat onder plastic geteeld kan worden, bespoten kan worden en makkelijker te plukken is. Met het verdwijnen van de boomgaarden met hoogstamkersen gaan onbespoten kersen met een meer intense smaak verloren, wordt landschappelijke schoonheid vervangen door homogene plastic kassen en verdwijnt een teeltmethode die met veel lokale cultuur omgeven was (gemengd bedrijf; het “heuen” = het verjagen van de spreeuwen met rammelende blikken; de seizoenspluk op lange ladders waar het hele dorp bij betrokken was en waar reizende plukkers voor langskwamen).
In de tuin van het Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam kunt u de Nationale Kersenreeks zien, die bestaat uit het merendeel van bovengenoemde rassen. Zij laat zien van links naar rechts hoe acht rassen van vroeg tot laat elkaar opvolgen in bloei en vervolgens van vroeg tot laat rijpen. Heel wat anders dan de altijd even rode Griekse kersen in de supermarkt.
Morel (ofwel Schattenmorelle of Noordkriek) is de bekendste zure kers met een pluktijd na alle overige kersenrassen. Draagt onregelmatig, in draagjaren goed. Zelfbestuivend. De zure kers is van een andere soort dan de zoete kersen (Prunus avium) en behoort tot het geslacht Prunus cerasus. De zure kers (Prunus cerasus) is een struik uit de rozenfamilie (Rosaceae) afkomstig uit Zuidoost-Europa en West-Azië, die van nature niet in België en Nederland voorkomt. De soort wordt wel aangeplant in tuinen, of als leverancier van de kers voor consumptie. De struik wordt hier tot zes meter hoog. Andere namen zijn “morel”, of in België en Zuid-Nederland “kriek” (bekend van het kriekenbier: kriekenlambiek uit Schaerbeekse krieken). Het hout is slap en hangt naar beneden. De boom krijgt treurwilgachtige trekjes.
Morellen zien er uit als gewone kersen, rood tot donkerrood van kleur met rood vruchtvlees en een pit. Het grote verschil is de smaak. De morel is zo zuur dat deze alleen als de kers echt helemaal rijp is, geschikt is om zo te eten. Morellen worden daarom vaak ingemaakt of verwerkt tot sap. Boerenmeisjes zijn morellen op brandewijn (of met abrikozen en of frambozen).
De vruchten van de zure kers barsten minder snel dan die van de zoete kers, ze worden minder gegeten door vogels en ook minder snel aangetast door de fruitvlieg. Ze zijn wel gevoelig voor moniliarot, bladziekten en virussen.
De zure kers is met armere grond tevreden dan de zoete kers.
De volgende citaten zijn uit het boek Kersen voor miljoenen: van boskriek tot bigarreau van de Belgische fruit- en groentekenner Herman Vandommele (1983).:
De morellen stammen af van de oerkers. De wilde zure kriek vormt de verbinding tussen de oerkers en de noorderkriek morellen. Al in het klassieke Griekenland kende men de Macedonica, mogelijk de voorvader van de vroege morellen of noorderkrieken. Het oorsprongsgebied van de kleine rode vruchten ligt waarschijnlijk rond de Kaspische Zee; mogelijk heeft Alexander de Grote daar de kersen en krieken vandaan gehaald. Ook de Romeinen kenden een kersencultuur. Zij hadden onder meer de Lutatia. Ook van dit ras wordt wel gesuggereerd dat het de voorvader kan zijn van de morellen of noorderkrieken.
Vooral dank zij de Romeinen en daarna kerstenende monniken vindt in de Romeinse tijd respectievelijk in de vroege Middeleeuwen verspreiding van kersen en morellen plaats.
Karel de Grote is groot promotor van de fruitteelt. Bij zijn paleis in Aken laat hij 1125 kersen aanplanten. Ook Benedictijnen hebben in hun abdijen het nodige aan kersen aangeplant. In de elfde eeuw worden morellen wel gebruikt als medicijn voor maagklachten. In de 13de eeuw komt men in de geschriften steeds vaker krieken en amarenen tegen. In de 16de eeuw komen kersen en krieken regelmatig voor in boekhoudingen van tolheffende steden als Dordrecht en Brouwershaven. In de gouden 17de eeuw wordt Amsterdam met “carssen ende kriecken” voorzien vanuit Burgerdam en Utrecht, maar ook vanuit Wesel en Emmerich. In 1602 geldt er in Zierikzee en verbod op het verkopen van “karssen, kriecken, morellen en diergelijcke” als die bedorven zijn.
A. Munting schrijft in 1696 in Kracht van de Aardgewassen over de heilzame werking van zure, rode morellen. De vruchten zelf geven goed bloed, wekken eetlust op, drijven de “fluimen” uit, doen t water lossen (= zijn vochtafdrijvend, in huidige termen) en nemen de hitte van de gal weg. De kernen (= pitten) doden de wormen en drijven het graveel af. De gom van morellen , mits met wijn ingenomen, verzachten de keel, geven een helder gelaat en zuivere huid en wekt eetlust op. Morellen waren de ”after eight” van de 17de eeuw. Morellen zouden na een maaltijd de maag doen samentrekken en verstoppen. “soo verdouwste te rasser en beter dan als se open is”. Morellen voor een betere spijsvertering, dus.
Tijd nu om in te zoemen op twee soorten: de “Echte Morel” en de Schattenmorelle
De geschiedenis van de “echte” morel meer specifiek belicht
Herman Vandommele ziet de morel als zure kriekestruik, die rechtstreeks erfgenaam is van de echte kriek, met zoals eerder gesuggereerd de buurt van de Kaspische Zee als vermoedelijk oorsprongsgebied. De Romeinen zouden de variëteit zure kriek gekend hebben onder de naam “Apronianum”. Het woord morel zou afgeleid zijn van Moren. Ofwel de Arabieren zouden de morel daadwerkelijk ingevoerd en verspreid hebben. Dat laat onverlet dat eerder de Romeinen de verspreiding voor hun rekening genomen zouden kunnen hebben. De Romeinen bezetten immers rond de jaarwisseling ook Noord-Afrika, het gebied dat later “Moors” werd!
In de Middeleeuwen zou het zure karakter van de vrucht benadrukt zijn in de naam “Agrota”. Daarin herkent u als u hoger in het Frans geschoold bent het woord aigre van vinaigrette; aigre is gewoon zuur op zijn Frans. Ook het woord Amère wordt toegevoegd in 1485. Amère = bitter (dit wordt later het woord amarene). Die bitterheid zou volgens sommigen refereren aan de bitterheid van de kruistochten. Tijdens één van de kruistochten zouden morellen uit Syrië zijn meegenomen, aldus een alternatieve veronderstelling over de herkomst van de morel.
In 1596 spreekt men over “Morelo Cherries” uit Frankrijk. In 1672 komt de term Morel voor in de ”Nederlandse Hovenier”. Daarin raadt men aan deze morellen in “Krieckerijen” te planten. Een geschrift uit 1737 beweert dat morellen niet gezaaid mogen worden, maar op boskriek geënt moeten worden. Diverse variëteiten passeren in de jaren en eeuwen daarna de revue in ons land. Guldemond, Rosenobel en Schimmelpenning in de tweede helft van de 18e eeuw. In de 19de eeuw zijn er Nonnenkers, Jeruzalemkers en Kardinaalskriek, alsmede Heidelberger, Duitse Pelswijkser en Dokterskers.
Tussen de wereldoorlogen zijn in België de Schaarbeekse Noordkriek en de Morille in opkomst. Ze worden gebruikt voor het kriekenbier. In Duitsland, bij Thüringen is er de Oberdorla.
In 1960 werd de Kelleris nr. 16 geïntroduceerd. Dit ras combineerde zware vruchten met een (toch) goede totaalopbrengst.
Herman Vandommele probeert de oorsprong van de Schattenmorelle terug te leiden naar een in 1590 beschreven zure kriek en een in 1816 genoemde, uit Milaan afkomstige Grosse Cerise à Ratafia. Via een Duitse monnik zou deze variëteit in Duitsland verspreid zijn. In het Rijnland sprak men van “Nordkirsche”. Een kriek waarvan de vrucht zo vast zat aan de steel dat men moeite moest doen hem er af te krijgen.
Herman Vandommele trekt de lijn door langs de Doppelte Schattenmorelle en de Lange Loth Kirsche.
De Schattenmorelle doet het ook in moderne tijden nog goed. Niet als vers consumptiefruit, maar als (hulp)grondstof voor jams en zuivelproducten.
Een variant is de Groningse Westerleesche kriek.

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