Cherries are a must-have summer treat, great for fruit salads, desserts, and simply popping in your mouth. Bing cherries and Rainier cherries line the market produce shelves each summer, ready for consumers. The choice between Bing and Rainier cherries hinges on each fruit's color, flavor and uses.
The first way to discern Bing cherries from Rainier is by appearance. Each variety has notably different skin and flesh. The California Cherry Advisory Board describes the Bing cherry as having a deep red skin with similarly colored flesh, while the Rainier cherry has translucent flesh and yellow skin with a rosy hue. Additionally, according to the Specialty Produce Company, Rainer cherries are delicate and bigger than Bing cherries.
One of the most important differences between Bing and Rainier cherries is flavor. Stemilt Growers writes that Bing cherries are definitely quite sweet and make a refreshing snack. Rainier cherries are very high in sugar and much sweeter than Bing cherries, but with a more refined flavor.
The harvesting seasons of Bing and Rainier cherries overlap significantly, but seasonal limitations affect each fruit's consumer availability. Both varieties of cherry ripen and are harvested in late May and early June, a fairly narrow window. As a result, quality sweet cherries are available in markets for a relatively limited time.
Bing and Rainier cherries are appropriate ingredients for many of the same baked goods and other cherry-based dishes. Both are commonly eaten fresh without the aid of sugar or other sweet supplements, but both can also be used to make pies, cakes, tarts, jams, and other desserts.