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The Difference Between Tart and Sweet Cherries

Cherries rank among the most popular fruits for many people? - But did you know that there are many differences between sweet and tart cherries? 

Montmorency tart cherries and sweet cherries are both grown in Northern Michigan. Each are great tasting and delicious fruits, but there is a difference between tart and sweet cherries?

Learn more…

A lot of published research is available about the natural health benefits of each type of cherry. Even the research shows the difference between tart and sweet cherries.

No matter, if they are tart or sweet, many want to know which cherry is the best choice for:

  • Stopping joint pain due to arthritis and gout
  • Helping to get a better night’s sleep
  • Offers lower natural sugar levels
  • Eating and Snacking - Which type of cherry simply tastes better
  • Making cherry juice
  • Baking and making recipes

Tart Cherry Natural Health Benefits

Download a free copy of the Official Tart Cherry Health Report Here

Variety and Color:

The most common tart cherry grown in the United States is the Montmorency tart cherry. In fact, the Traverse Bay Farms region of Michigan grows over 65% of all tart cherries in the U.S..

Montmorency tart cherries, also known as sour or red cherries, are bright red when harvested, and they retain that bold color when dried, frozen or juiced.

While there are several varieties of sweet cherries, the most common is Bing. These fresh cherries are quite dark – sometimes almost purple or black.


Types of Tart and Sweet Cherries:

The main type of tart cherry grown in the United States is the Montmorency tart cherry. This is the most common type of tart cherry in the U.S.. The Montmorency tart cherry is bright red in color.

While the sweet cherries are darker red in color and even, at times, appear to be purple. In addition, the sweet cherry is larger in when compared to the tart cherry. The most popular type of sweet cherry is the Bing.


Both the sweet and tart cherries are harvest during the warm summer months. Harvest usually occurs during early-July to mid-August. Both cherries are very perishable.

This means, you will only be able to find the fresh cherries during the short summer harvest in the produce section of your local grocery store or a farm stand.  

However, the Montmorency tart cherry is available year-round in many different forms including tart cherry juice concentrate, cherry capsules, dried and frozen cherries. It is this variety most of the cherry-based products are made from.

Flavor and Taste:

The sweet cherry contains more naturally occurring sugar. This means it is much sweeter. That is why the sweet variety is most often used for eating fresh.

The tart cherry is used mainly for creating value-add products and baking. It is used in pies, muffins, cakes and other recipes. The main reason is the lower sugar content that doesn’t interfere with the sweetness of other ingredients.

In addition, the Montmorency variety is the type used to create tart cherry juice, tart cherry capsules, dried cherries and more.

The Science:

Most of the published research has been conducted on the sour Montmorency tart cherries. Over 60 studies have been published on the natural anti-inflammatory, sleep and other benefits of the Montmorency tart cherry.

One of the most popular areas of study for the tart cherry is the anti-inflammatory benefits offered by this Michigan-grown, ruby-red fruit.

Sweet Cherry Juice Vs. Tart Cherry Juice:

When looking for the natural joint pain relieving benefits of this fruit, many also want to know they are limiting their sugar intake, too.

For many, the amount of sugar per serving is an important factor. The amount of sugar is a difference between sweet and tart cherry juice. Here is a side-by-side comparison for your review.

Fruit Advantage Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice:

  • 15mg of naturally occurring sugar

Sweet Tart Cherry Juice:

  • 28mg of naturally occurring sugar

Learn more about Tart Cherry Juice Here

Watch how to make cherry juice 

Consumption and Baking:

Most people enjoy the sweet cherries over the tart when eating them fresh. The reason the sweet variety is tastier. This is the due to the increased size and sugar content. This combination allows for a very pleasant experience when snack on this purplish fruit.

However, when baking the Montmorency sour cherry is the first choice. The smaller size allows for more cherries per weight thus allow for a more cherry flavor in the end recipe.

In addition, the sweet cherry is also called black, purple or snack cherry. Check out this video below comparing the difference between the tart and sweet cherry.



The Wrap Up:

While both types of cherries contain naturally occurring anthocyanins and other flavonoids, the tart variety delivers the most amount per serving. This mean those looking for the benefits of cherry juice, should look for the tart cherry juice. Also, make sure to check out Fruit Advantage Joint Formula Tart Cherry for natural joint pain relief.

For eating fresh, the sweet variety is the preferred choice due to the size and amount of natural sugar.

If you're looking for a low sugar way to get the pain relieving properties of tart cherries, check out Fruit Advantage Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice