The cherry is a stone fruit related to the plum, peach, almond, apricot, and nectarine. It is sometimes considered a culinary berry, although it is distinguished by its pit that must be removed when eating.
Commercially-available cherries include sweet and sour varieties. Both are edible, but sour cherries are typically too sour to consume without further cooking. All edible cherries range from bright to dark red or purple.
When choosing fresh cherries, pick hard red ones if you prefer sour cherries that will last. Pick soft purple ones if you prefer sweet cherries. The stems should be green.
Cherries are commonly available fresh, dried, jarred, canned, and in syrup. Maraschino cherries are dyed bright red and stored in syrup—these are popular as an ice cream topping.