Properties and Benefits of Morello Cherries

The Morello cherry is a type of sour or tart cherry with a dark red skin and red flesh and juice, as opposed to the Amarelle cherry which has a lighter red skin and little to no color to the flesh and juice. The benefits of Morello cherries and Morello cherry juice include a faster recovery of the muscles following exercise, improved sleep and digestion, better eyesight and a reduction in joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis and gout. Morello cherries are also a good source of plant-based melatonin which holds benefits for sleep, inflammatory conditions and the immune system.

What are Morello Cherries?

The Morello cherry is one of two major subdivisions of sour or tart cherries, the other being the Amarelle cherry. Morellos belong to the Prunus cerasus species and include dozens or more cultivated varieties, including dwarf tree species. The name Morello cherry is a general term used to refer to any sour or tart cherry variety of a darker red color. As opposed to Amarelle cherries which are a paler red color and black cherries which are a dark purple-red, almost black color. Some people call Morello cherries ‘dark Morello cherries’ to better distinguish them from Amarelle cherries.

Morello cherries nutrition facts

You can buy both full-size and dwarf Morello cherry tree varieties in most tree nurseries if you are considering growing your own Morello cherries instead of having to buy them every year. Dwarf Morello cherry trees make great potted plants if you have limited garden space, if your area is just too cold in winter or if winters where you live are long and late snows risk compromising fruit production.

What do Morello cherries look like?

Morello cherries are sour or tart cherries of a dark red color. Sometimes they are called ‘dark Morello cherries’, a name that emphasizes their characteristic pigmentation. In terms of color, Morellos are darker red than Amarelle cherries, but lighter colored than black cherries. Morello cherries have dark red skin and red flesh and juice, vs Amarelle cherries which have a bright red skin and almost colorless flesh and juice.┬áMorello cherries vary in size depending on cultivar, but the fruit have the typical plum, slightly heart-shaped cherry appearance, with smooth and thin skin and juicy flesh. Each fruit has one hard-shelled brown seed in the center with one white seed inside.

What do Morello cherries taste like?

Morello cherries taste tart or sour with pleasant fresh, sharp and fruity flavors. The acidity and sharpness may vary slightly with cultivar, but like all respectable tart cherries, Morellos will taste really sour. This is also the main reason why people tend to eat them cooked (popular recipes include jams, whole-fruit jams, pies, clafoutis, sponge cakes, sweet-tangy cherry sauces etc.). However, eating Morello cherries fresh is better than cooked because the fruit retain all of their nutrition and associated health benefits this way. Cooking not only alters components such as vitamins and antioxidants, rendering them biologically inactive, but also destroys others, resulting in a reduced nutritional value.

Morello cherries nutritional information

Morello cherries are an important dietary source of copper, providing the entire recommended daily intake of the mineral in just one 100 g serving. They are further a good source of potassium and the antioxidant mineral manganese, as well as vitamins C and A and dietary fiber. Morellos are a modest source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and choline and contain small amounts of vitamins E and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Morello cherries are naturally almost sodium-free, and have no vitamin B12 and no vitamin D.

Morello cherries benefits

Morello cherries nutrition facts per 100 g

  • Energetic value: 50 kilocalories (kcal)
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12+ g
  • Sugars: 8.5 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1.6 g – 2.1 g

Vitamins in Morello cherries:

  • Vitamin A: 64 mcg (micrograms)
  • Vitamin B1: 0.03 mg
  • Vitamin B2: 0.04 mg
  • Vitamin B3: 0.4 mg
  • Vitamin B5: 0.143 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.044 mg
  • Choline: 6.1 mg
  • Vitamin B9: 8 mcg (micrograms)
  • Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 10 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 0.07 mg (trace amounts)
  • Vitamin K: 2.1 mcg

Minerals in Morello cherries:

  • Calcium: 16 mg
  • Copper: 0.104 mg
  • Iron: 0.32 mg
  • Magnesium: 9 mg
  • Manganese: 0.112 mg
  • Phosphorus: 15 mg
  • Potassium: 173 mg
  • Selenium: 0 mcg
  • Sodium: 3 mg
  • Zinc: 0.07 mg

Note: ‘Morello cherry’ is a broad term used to refer to all darker red sour or tart cherry varieties, so naturally there will be nutritional differences between the different types of Morello cherry. The nutrition of Morello cherries is considered to be the nutrition of tart cherries in general.

There isn’t just one Morello cherry variety in cultivation, but dozens (or more). Add to this the fact that fruit nutrition can be different between fruit of the same variety due to factors such as geographical region, growing conditions, climate, weather, age of the fruit at harvest time or ripening stage, it’s clear you can’t attribute a specific nutrition to all Morello cherries.

Morello cherries benefits

  1. Benefits for muscle recovery. Eating Morello tart cherries or drinking Morello tart cherry juice for several days after any form of intense physical exercise can help speed muscle recovery and reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness, pain and loss of strength.
  2. Benefits for arthritis. Morellos tart cherries and tart cherry juice are good for arthritis and help reduce joint swelling and pain associated with the condition. Between Morello and Amarelle, Morello are the best cherries for arthritis because they are higher in anthocyanin antioxidants which studies believe to be the main source of anti-inflammatory benefits for arthritis. Find out more about cherries and cherry juice for arthritis pain.
  3. Benefits for gout. Morello cherries are good for gout because they are low-purine foods, and reduce uric acid levels in the blood and inflammation markers such as the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, contributing to fewer gout flareups. Find out more about cherries and cherry juice for gout.
  4. High-melatonin food. Tart cherries are a food source of melatonin, a component with hormone-like properties that holds benefits for sleep, reduces inflammation and modulates the immune system.
  5. Benefits for sleep. Morello and tart cherries and cherry juice in general help with sleep problems. Regular consumption can help improve sleep quality and increase overall sleep time. However, eating tart cherries or drinking tart cherry juice before bed can cause acid reflux and affect sleep. Find out more about cherries and cherry juice for sleep.
  6. Benefits for eyesight. Beta-carotene-derived vitamin A in Morello cherries provides benefits for color vision and vision in low light (or night vision). Lutein and zeaxanthin in the fruit and juice are absorbed in the retina of the eye where they protect the eye against radiation from sunlight.
  7. High-copper food. A serving of 100 g of Morello or other tart cherries provides more than the entire recommended intake of copper for an adult person per day. Copper is a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme SOD, superoxide dismutase, and has antiaging and immune system-boosting properties.
  8. Benefits for digestion. Aside from causing acid reflux if eaten in excess or right before bed, Morello cherries and juice have prebiotic properties and feed good gut bacteria for a healthy gut environment and better overall digestive health.
  9. Mild laxative properties. Morello cherries are a source of fiber and high in water and help improve transit time, relieving constipation.
  10. Good for teeth and gums. Morello cherries are a good source of vitamin C for healthy teeth and gums. At the same time, the organic acids present naturally in the fruit can cause teeth sensitivity.
  11. Minor benefits for blood pressure. Almost sodium-free and a source of potassium and magnesium, Morello tart cherries and tart cherry juice modestly lower blood pressure.
  12. Good food for healthy weight loss. Source of essential vitamins and minerals, but low in calories, fat and sugar, Morello cherries are a good food to consider for healthy weight loss.
  13. Good food for diabetes type 2. With a low glycemic index score of only 20, 20-ish, Morello cherries don’t raise blood sugar levels too much too fast, making them a good food to eat by diabetics, in small amounts.
  14. Antiaging benefits. Antioxidants in the fruit and its juice help prevent and repair cell damage caused by oxidative stress and delay premature aging, exerting antiaging benefits. One antioxidant in particular, Vitamin C, supports collagen production for better skin elasticity and a more youthful looking skin.

Morello cherries side effects

  1. Allergic reactions. Eating Morello or any sweet or tart cherry can cause an allergic reaction with the potential for anaphylactic shock. Skin symptoms such as itching and a rash, respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, hoarseness and systemic symptoms such as swelling of the lips, tongue or throat and closing of the airways require immediate medical attention. Find out more about cherry allergy.
  2. Teeth sensitivity. Organic acids present naturally in Morellos and tart cherries in general can cause teeth sensitivity.
  3. Diarrhea. Morello and all tart and sweet cherries have natural laxative properties and help relieve constipation. At the same time, they can also cause loose stools and diarrhea. The culprit is often the fiber in the fruit, but a sensitivity or intolerance to components occurring naturally in the fruit such as sugar alcohols mannitol or sorbitol can also lead to diarrhea. In rare cases, cherries diarrhea is a sign of an allergic reaction, which means other allergy symptoms will also likely occur.
  4. Stomach upset. Eating tart cherries such as Morello or drinking tart cherry juice can flareup gastritis and cause acid reflux and associated stomach upset with symptoms such as regurgitation of stomach juices, a bad, metallic, sour or acidic taste in the mouth, heartburn, stomach pain, bloating, burping, hiccups and more. If you have IBS, Morellos and other tart and sweet cherries can cause a flareup.

This post was updated on Wednesday / May 19th, 2021 at 10:42 PM