What Do Nanking Cherries Taste Like?

If you’re a fan of cherries, you’re in for a treat. Meet the Nanking cherry, a delightful little fruit packed with flavor and charm. Originating from Asia, thanks to their hardiness and delicious taste, these cherries have found their way into gardens and kitchens worldwide.

The best time to enjoy Nanking cherries is during the summer months. That’s when they ripen to a vibrant red, signaling that they’re ready to be plucked from their bushes. Each cherry is a small burst of flavor, offering a unique blend of sweet and tart that dances on the tongue.

As for the taste, imagine a sweet and tart cherry with a hint of almond flavor. It’s a distinct yet familiar taste, a refreshing twist on the cherries we all know and love.

But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s talk more in-depth about Nanking cherries and discover what makes this berry so special.

How Do Nanking Cherries Taste?

The initial taste is a pleasant sweetness akin to the cherries you might be more familiar with. But as you continue to savor the fruit, a subtle tartness begins to emerge, creating a delightful balance that keeps your taste buds guessing.

what do nanking cherries taste like

As you chew, a faint hint of almond begins to unfold. It’s a surprising note that adds a layer of complexity to the fruit’s profile. This almond-like undertone is what sets Nanking cherries apart, making them a fascinating ingredient to work within the kitchen.

In essence, Nanking cherries offer a flavor experience that’s both familiar and novel. It’s a taste that’s reminiscent of traditional cherries yet distinct enough to stand on its own.

Varieties Of Nanking Cherries

While Nanking cherries themselves are a variety of cherry, there are different cultivars that you might come across. Here are a few:

  • Crimson Passion: This cultivar is known for its larger fruits and higher sugar content, resulting in a sweeter taste than other varieties.
  • Juliet: Juliet cherries balance sweet and tart flavors, similar to the classic Nanking cherry taste, but with a slightly higher sugar content.
  • Carmine Jewel: These cherries are smaller and darker with a rich, wine-like flavor that’s more tart than sweet.

Comparing Nanking Cherries With Other Fruits

Nanking cherries have a unique flavor, but they can be compared to a few other fruits:

  • Sour Cherries: Nanking cherries and sour cherries share a similar tartness, but Nanking cherries have a hint of almond flavor that sets them apart.
  • Sweet Cherries: While sweet cherries are generally sweeter than Nanking cherries, they lack the tartness and almond undertone that Nanking cherries possess.
  • Gooseberries: The sweet-tart flavor profile of Nanking cherries is somewhat similar to that of gooseberries, although gooseberries have a more pronounced tartness.

Do Nanking Cherries Taste Good?

The answer to whether Nanking cherries taste good is a resounding yes, especially if you’re a fan of fruits that offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors. The unique blend of sweetness, tartness, and a hint of almond-like flavor makes Nanking cherries a delightful treat to savor.

Freshness plays a crucial role in the taste of Nanking cherries. They are at their best when freshly picked during the summer months. That’s when they’re ripe and full of flavor. The cherries should be vibrant red in color, which is a good indicator of their ripeness.

Eating Nanking cherries raw is a joy in itself. The burst of flavor you get with each bite is truly refreshing.

But these cherries are not just for eating fresh. They also hold up well when cooked, making them a great addition to pies, jams, and jellies. Their tartness balances out the sweetness in these dishes, adding a layer of complexity to the flavors.

However, Nanking cherries might not be to everyone’s liking. Their tartness can be a bit too much for some, especially those who prefer sweeter fruits. Also, the cherries are quite small, meaning they have less flesh and more pit than larger cherry varieties.

As for freezing, Nanking cherries freeze well. You can store them in the freezer and use them later for cooking or baking. Just remember to wash and dry them thoroughly before freezing to maintain their quality.

How To Use Nanking Cherries

Recipes with Nanking Cherries

  • Nanking Cherry Jam: This is a classic way to use Nanking cherries. The cherries’ tartness balances out the jam’s sweetness, making it a delightful spread for your morning toast. Plus, making jam is a great way to preserve the cherries so you can enjoy their flavor year-round.
  • Nanking Cherry Pie: Who doesn’t love a good cherry pie? Substitute traditional cherries with Nanking cherries for a unique twist on this classic dessert. The tartness of the Nanking cherries adds a refreshing note to the sweet pie filling.
  • Nanking Cherry Sauce: This sauce can be a great accompaniment to roast meats, especially pork and duck. The tart-sweet flavor of the cherries complements the savory meat, creating a well-rounded flavor profile.

Side Dishes with Nanking Cherries

  • Nanking Cherry Salad: Add fresh Nanking cherries to your favorite salad for a spurt of flavor. The cherries add a sweet-tart note that pairs well with leafy greens and vinaigrette dressings.
  • Nanking Cherry Chutney: This tangy, sweet, and spicy condiment is great for grilled meats or cheese platters. The unique flavor of Nanking cherries shines in this chutney, making it a standout side dish.
  • Roasted Vegetables with Nanking Cherries: Roast your favorite vegetables and toss them with fresh Nanking cherries for a side dish that’s both nutritious and flavorful. The cherries add a refreshing, tart note that complements the savory vegetables.

Nanking Cherry FAQs

What does a Nanking Cherry taste like?

Nanking cherries have a unique flavor that’s a blend of sweet and tart, with a subtle hint of almond. It’s a refreshing, familiar, and novel taste, making these cherries a delightful treat to savor.

Are Nanking cherries good to eat?

Absolutely! Nanking cherries are delicious to eat, especially when they’re freshly picked during the summer months. Their sweet-tart flavor makes them a joy to eat raw, and they also hold up well when cooked, making them a great addition to pies, jams, and jellies.

What is the flavor of Nanking cherries?

The flavor of Nanking cherries is a pleasant mix of sweet and tart, with a surprising note of almond-like flavor. This unique blend of flavors is what sets Nanking cherries apart from other cherry varieties.

Can Nanking cherries be used in the same ways as sour cherries?

Yes, Nanking cherries can be used in much the same way as sour cherries. Their tartness makes them great for pies, jams, and jellies. They can also be used to make wine or enjoyed fresh off the bush.

How are Nanking cherries used in cooking?

Nanking cherries are quite versatile in the kitchen. They can be used fresh in salads, cooked into pies and tarts, or made into jams and jellies. Their unique flavor also makes them a great choice for making cherry wine.

My Tasty Thoughts

Whether you’re eating them fresh, cooking them into a pie, or making a tangy jam, Nanking cherries bring a refreshing twist to your dishes.

But what makes Nanking cherries truly special is that they can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads and side dishes to desserts and sauces. This makes them a fun ingredient to experiment with, allowing you to explore new flavors and recipes.

However, Nanking cherries are quite small, meaning they have less flesh and more pit than larger cherry varieties. This might make them a bit more challenging, especially for recipes that require pitting. Also, their season is relatively short, and they’re best enjoyed fresh during the summer months.

Despite that, I believe that Nanking cherries are worth trying. So if you come across Nanking cherries at your local farmer’s market or grocery store, don’t hesitate to try them.

About Justin Micheal

Hey, I’m Justin and the home cook behind Food Meets Flavor. I have a passion for cooking and making food delicious. So, I started this blog to help others understand what different types of food taste like and how to make everyday meals taste even better.