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The Van cherry's surface is smooth and rounded, with a lustered deep red to black finish. The fruit's flavor is rich and concentrated with overt sweetness balanced by a touch of acidity. Its flesh is firmly textured and juicy when ripe, just barely smaller than the Bing cherry. The fruit is outstanding eaten right off the tree, or can be used for jellies, jams, pies or preserves. It can even be easily frozen to enjoy later in the off season.
The Van cherry is available in the late spring, ripening just slightly earlier than the bing.
All cherries are members of the family, Prunus and are descendents of the wild cherry, Prunus avium. They are classified as stone fruits (fruits containing a singular central seed), alongside apricots, plums, peaches and almonds. The Van cherry consistently scores above all other sweet cherries in taste tests. It is often compared to the Bing cherry, the most widely planted varietal, but is even sweeter, juicier, crunchier and more flavorful.
Recipes that include Van Cherries. One is easiest, three is harder.