Rainier cherries are a unique type of cherry from Washington state that have a distinctive yellow skin with a pink or red blush to it. They’re a hybrid between two other types of cherries – Bing and Van cherries – and have been around since the 1960s. These cherries are a favorite with many cherry lovers because they are super-sweet, much sweeter than other cherry varieties, with an almost peachy note to them. They tend to be more expensive than other types of cherries because they only make up a small percentage of the cherry crop, and the cherries tend to bruise easily, which means that it can be difficult to ship them. The bulk of the Rainier cherry crop is produced in the Northwestern US, mostly in Washington and Oregon. They’re in season from mid-June through July, however, and that is the best time of year to look for them at markets.
Rainier cherries can be used in baking, and they will occasionally appear in cherry tarts and other baked goods, but they are really best when eaten raw where you can best appreciate their creamy texture and sweet flavor. If you do decide to bake with your cherries, you’ll find that they keep their texture very well after baking, and that they can add a beautiful pop of color to a cherry cobbler or other dessert.