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judging ripeness in sour cherries?

Posted by windfall_rob vt4 (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 20:03

This is the first year I have seen any significant crop on the half dozen varieties of sours we put in.

Without baseline experience on what full ripe tastes likei for the different types, are there any general indicators for how long to let them hang once they color up?

On the trees with enough fruit, I have just started picking a little at a time once they achieve good color, try to be attentive to the changes over time and make notes for next year. Most do seem to continue to "improve" with additional time. But obviously this is weighing against a steadily increasing risk of loss to birds, cracking , rot, etc....

any advice on zeroing in on peak harvest window?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: judging ripeness in sour cherries?

In my experience, the longer the better, sugar level goes up.
From the time when turning red, minimum around one to two weeks, have let them on double and they tasted even better, never seen cracking.

RE: judging ripeness in sour cherries?

If you have any left once the sour cherries are really red, they become much sweeter. They are still very tart but sweeter. I've been eating mine off of the tree for the past few days and they are semi-red. They are delish! By the way my Montmorency did not produce more than 50 cherries this year. Half of which fell off. I've decided the tree is not getting enough sun .

RE: judging ripeness in sour cherries?

A ripe sour cherry will stay intact when the stem is pulled off. When the stem is pulled on an unripe cherry, the pit and much of the flesh stays attached to the stem. The cherry will do this even when fully red.

Taste is of course the prime factor, balanced against the risk of splitting or predators, when extending the harvest.

For large harvests intended for freezing or baking, the stem test is quick and reliable. The taste test is better for fresh eating.

RE: judging ripeness in sour cherries?

I find most people pick their tart cherries too early! Even though the fruit is red does not mean it is ripe to perfection. I always tell friends they are like apples. Apples turn red weeks before fully ripe.

I have a North Star cherry and did a light picking last night from the top of the tree only. I find they are best not picked when red but almost purple. At that stage the
cherries really plump out and have a slightly glossy skin color.

However, taste is up to the grower. A friend has picked
almost all of his North Star already and he is happy with
them. I would have waited longer.

My Mesabi ripens the same time as North Star. My Balaton (YUM!) ripens slightly later. This year the cherries are ripening much later than last year due to our
cold late spring. I would say they are running about 1.5
weeks later than normal.

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