If you have ever come across a cherry tree in full bloom you have likely stopped in your tracks from the vivid and delicate white flowers that cover the tree in late Spring. Not only do these majestic trees add a beautiful flash of white to your yard every spring, but they also provide you with a huge crop of tart cherries mid-summer.
Montmorency Cherries are one of the most widely grown tart cherry trees in the United States and are sold in a variety of ways throughout the country. In this article, we will explain what a Montmorency Cherry is and how to grow one in your own backyard. We will also discuss the health benefits these powerhouse fruits will bring to your yard and where Montmorency Cherries came from in the first place.
What are Montmorency Cherries?
A Montmorency Cherry is a tart fruit that has a rich red color that adds a beautiful display every single spring. When you bite into one of these cherries you will be greeted by a yellow flesh that has a strong tart and tangy flavor.
A Montmorency Cherry tree becomes covered with blooms in the late Spring, and by mid-summer, you will be picking ripe cherries from your tree. While Montmorency Cherries are not the top choice for a sweet cherry flavor, they are reliable and will consistently produce a heavy crop every single year.
Not only do many people love using Montmorency Cherries in their cooking, but there is also plenty of wildlife that look forward to the tart cherries every single year. If you want to maintain your cherry crop and protect it from getting eaten by birds and other wildlife, you must cover it with netting before the fruit begins to ripen.
An amazing aspect of Montmorency Cherry trees is how many options you have to use throughout your kitchen and cooking. These cherries retain their nutritional value no matter if you juice them, freeze them, or dry them in a dehumidifier. The addition of a Montmorency Cherry tree to your backyard will give you nutritionally dense fruit year after year.
What is the History of Montmorency Cherries?
Montmorency Cherries have such a unique and interesting name because of where they were first cultivated. The Montmorency Valley in France was where this cherry tree was first grown and it took the name with it as it traveled all over the world.
Would you believe that the majority of Montmorency Cherries are grown in the United States on small family farms all over the country? While many states grow these types of cherries, Michigan is known as the cherry state for good reason. Michigan is one of the top growers of Montmorency Cherries in the country.
What does a Montmorency Cherry Taste Like?
A Montmorency Cherry has a tart and tangy flavor unlike the sweet cherries you may see at the grocery store. While Montmorency Cherries are tarter than most, they offer a significant amount of health benefits and can be used in a variety of ways.
After Montmorency Cherries show their white flowers in the spring, you will begin to see cherries pop up all over the tree in place of the blooms. While you wait for the cherries to ripen on your cherry tree you can begin looking up the slew of recipes that utilize tart cherries. From jams, preserves, cobblers, and more, Montmorency Cherries are a great option for your backyard.
What are the benefits of Montmorency Cherries?
Montmorency Cherries are stocked full of incredible health benefits that people use in a variety of forms. When you head to the grocery store you will typically see frozen tart cherries, tart cherry juice, and more, which are typically from Montmorency Cherries.
Whether you use the juice of the Montmorency Cherry or freeze them to add to smoothies, they are incredibly valuable to improve your health in a variety of ways. There have been tons of studies on tart Montmorency Cherries including their ability to help with arthritis as well as heart health.
With such a strong profile of nutrients, the research for Montmorency Cherries continues to show time and time again how impactful they are to your health. They can help improve your gut balance and are also a great choice after you exercise. When it comes to choosing fruit to add to your daily meals, tart cherries are a great option.
Montmorency Cherries contain potassium, fiber, and plenty of antioxidants that are great for anyone’s health. These cherries are also completely full of naturally occurring melatonin and are one of the few natural fruits that contain such high sources of melatonin. Melatonin is great to help you sleep and keeps you from having to take sleep aids and pills.
How to Grow Montmorency Cherries?
Montmorency Cherry trees are self-fertile which means they truly only need one in order to produce a crop of cherries that you can harvest. With most self-fertile plants, while planting more than one is not needed, it will greatly benefit the harvest you get every year. By planting more than one Montmorency Cherry you will be greeted by a significantly larger crop of cherries that you can use throughout all of your baked goods.
The Montmorency Cherry tree is cold hardy and typically ripens earlier than most fruit trees early in the season. When wondering if a Montmorency Cherry will work in your area it is important to check the hardiness zone you are in. Montmorency Cherry trees thrive in hardiness zones 4-7 and love well-draining soil.
Before planting a fruit tree of any kind it is crucial to know how much room they need and where they will do the best. The most frustrating thing would be to plant a fruit tree without enough room for it to flourish to its full potential.
Find a spot in full sun that has well-draining soil, and your Montmorency Cherry (Prunus Cerasus) will have what it needs to grow strong and healthy. After your Montmorency Cherry tree begins to grow, you will likely need to stake it and add extra support to the base. When the tree becomes covered in fruit, the weight can easily cause the tree to lean and cause issues.
One important thing to note is that you can find Montmorency Cherries in either a regular tree size or a dwarf size that you can easily keep on your back porch.
How to Use a Montmorency Cherry?
A Montmorency Cherry is an incredibly popular cherry to use for baking because of how beautifully its tart flavor combines with the sweetness of baked goods. Many people love using cherries off of the Montmorency Cherry Tree to create preserves and jams that they can use all year round. Imagine a piece of toast in the morning with a fresh and flavorful cherry jam that will add a kick of flavor to any meal.
Do Montmorency Cherries Help you Sleep?
Yes, research has shown that drinking tart cherry juice multiple times a day can greatly increase your chances of sleeping better. The reason that Montmorency Cherry juice will help you sleep is that they are full of natural melatonin which is known to help you sleep.
How Fast do Montmorency Cherrys grow?
Montmorency Cherry trees have an average growth rate and will typically grow to be around 15 to 24 feet tall.
Can you Eat Montmorency Cherries?
Montmorency Cherries (Prunus Cerasus) can absolutely be eaten, but are best when they are not eaten right off the tree. Oftentimes these sour cherries greatly benefit by being added to preserves, jams, and baked goods. Eating Montmorency Cherries is a great choice to add health-conscious food to your diet and easily accessible when you have one planted out your backdoor.
Fruit trees are a great choice for any backyard and can add a pop of color to different areas of your yard. Every summer, you will be greeted by red fruit that, when broken open, will reveal its bright yellow interior. Montmorency cherries are used in a variety of ways in the kitchen, but it’s important to know that their flavor is often tart and tangy right off of the tree.
An amazing aspect about the Montmorency Cherry Tree is that they can be grown successfully in hardiness zones 4-7. Finding a space with full sun that has well-draining soil and space for your cherry tree to grow is crucial. These cherry trees are self-fertile and can grow successfully by themselves. Having more than one cherry tree will increase your harvest every summer, although it is not necessary.
Once you pick the crop of cherries that your tree treats with you every summer, you can decide how to best use your cherries. Many people utilize the tart cherry juice from Montmorency cherries in baked goods as well as jams, preserves, and more to get the most out of the health benefits they offer. Grab your Montmorency Cherry tree today and start reaping all of the benefits they offer.
Excited for more cherry content? Then visit our cherry page for more planting tips, growing guides, recipe ideas, and more!
Wednesday 20th of July 2022
I have a productive tree and the cherries are very easy to pit. I use a spoon handle and just press down on the cherry and pull the stem...pit comes out easily. I just pitted 25 cups of cherries in about an hour this way. No need for a fancy cherry pitter.
Sunday 10th of July 2022
I use a Norpro cherry pitter, but although this is the best 'mass quantity' pitter on the market, it doesn't do so well on smaller Montmorancy cherries. Are there various varieties of this cherry tree that produces larger fruit? The Norpro pitter is really designed for larger sweet cherries, but I saw a bag of frozen Montmorancies that appear larger than the ones I pick!
Saturday 16th of July 2022
I don't think there are different "sub-varieties" if you will. But certainly many factors - sun, water, soil, last year's crop, tree maturity - all can affect fruit size.
Sunday 10th of July 2022
I have one of these trees in my front yard. It is full of beautiful fruit as we speak. My dog walking neighbors are always trying to sneak a handful as they walk by. I tell them to pick what they want to eat or use, but aren’t allowed to throw them around.(kids) I’m thinking of putting a sign up under the tree with all this great info. The trick will be how to harvest some before the birds have at it.
Saturday 16th of July 2022
When you're thinking "I'll pick those cherries tomorrow," the birds will eat them that day. Every time. :)
Bird netting is a pain but so much better than watching all your fruit get eaten by the birds.
Sunday 5th of June 2022
Thank you for this informative discussion of the Montmorency cherry tree. I planted one in 2019 and this year (2022) am getting a nice harvest! It has been a lovely shaped tree and has done quite well in my yard. One comment I would like to mention, is that when considering this fruit for smoothies, be sure not to blend in the pits. They contain a toxin which can be quite poisonous when the pits are crushed and eaten. The pits must be crushed in order for the toxin to be released.
Thursday 20th of January 2022
Thank you for all the information about each variety. You have helped me figure out what to plant and where. What a great service - to educate your potential growers, so they can have greater success.
Saturday 29th of January 2022
Thanks Anne. Don't forget to think about the bees and the role they play in the backyard orchard!