Here is the ultimate guide on how to freeze and store cherries.
I have used these methods a few times and several home cooks also say that these tips work splendidly!
Here is how you go about it.
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Ziploc Bag
Wash and Dry: Thoroughly wash the cherries and then pat them dry with some paper towel. You can remove or keep the stems on the cherries depending on your preference.
Lay Out: Spread the cherries onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or any tray that can fit in your freezer). Make sure that the cherries are evenly spaced and don’t clump together.
Flash Freeze: Leave the tray of cherries in the freezer for a couple of hours and let it get firm.
Pack and Seal: Transfer the frozen cherries into a Ziploc bag and seal them. Make sure to squeeze out all the excess air before sealing. You could use a straw to make it as close to vacuum sealed as possible.
Label and Freeze: Add a label with the best before date on it, and you are all set to freeze the cherries.
Here is an easy tutorial by “MonkeySee” on YouTube -
Freezing Cherries after Pitting Them
With a few extra steps, this method of freezing cherries will be a huge time saver when you are ready to use the cherries for your smoothies or other recipes.
Wash and Pit
Thoroughly wash the cherries and then pit them. You could use a pitter or even a chopstick to get this done. Optionally, you could cut the cherries in half or leave them whole.
Spread the prepped cherries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and make sure to evenly space them.
Leave the cherries in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight and let them freeze solid.
Pack and Seal
Transfer the frozen cherries into a Ziploc bag and seal them after squeezing out all the air in the bag.
Label and Freeze
Once you add a label with the date on it, you can leave the bag of cherries in the freezer till you need it next.
Check out this video by “Rambling Rose Farmhouse” on YouTube to see how it’s done –
Freezing Cherries in Sugar Syrup
Another great way to freeze cherries is by freezing them in sugar syrup, which will last for much longer in the freezer.
Wash and Prep
Thoroughly wash and dry the cherries. You could then pit them or process them as a whole.
Make a sugar syrup of water and sugar with a ratio that you prefer. Since cherries are already quite sweet, the sugar can be kept at a dilute ratio of 1:4. Add sugar to water on a stove and bring it to a boil.
Add the cherries into the warm syrup and once again bring it to a boil.
Portion and Cool
Scoop out the cherries and syrup in easy-to-manage portions and fill them in freezer-safe air-tight containers. Then let them cool down to room temperature before sealing them.
Seal, Label, and Freeze
After leaving at least an inch of space at the top of the container, seal them. Then add a label with the date, and you are good to go.
How Long Can You Freeze Cherries?
You can freeze cherries for 6 to 12 months in the freezer.
Though technically you can freeze the cherries for longer than that, it is best to consume them sooner rather than later to make the most out of their flavor and quality.
Although frozen cherries work just as well as fresh ones, we need to keep in mind that the longer it stays in the freezer, the more it changes its texture once it thaws.
How to Store Frozen Cherries?
You can store frozen cherries in Ziploc bags or freezer-safe air-tight containers. If you have a huge batch of cherries to freeze, the Ziploc bag is the preferred option.
It allows you to pack more and lay them down compactly, saving you a lot of freezer space.
In the case of cherries frozen in syrup, a solid freezer-safe container would be a better fit.
This makes handling the cherries and syrup much easier and is a better fit for long-term freezing. Make sure to leave an inch of space at the top of the container to accommodate any expansion once it freezes.
How to Defrost Frozen Cherries?
You can defrost the cherries by leaving them in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight and let them thaw gradually.
You could also thaw it by keeping the bag or container of cherries under cold water for an hour or so to thaw it quickly.
But if you plan to make smoothies or cook the cherries in a sauce or jam, you could skip the defrosting process and use it directly.
Defrosting the cherries is only necessary if you plan to bake with them.
Can You Refreeze Cherries?
Although you can refreeze cherries, it is not recommended. Repeated freezing can rid the cherries of their water content and make them mushy and soggy upon thawing.
Though this is safe to eat, it can be unappealing and might have changes in its taste. So, to avoid having to refreeze the cherries, flash freeze and portion them beforehand.
Flash freezing the cherries will ensure that you can grab a couple of cherries that you will need instead of having to thaw the whole batch.
In the case of cherries frozen in syrup, you can portion them beforehand into single-serving measures that you can easily consume in one go.
Do Cherries Freeze Well?
Yes, cherries freeze well, and it is one of the best ways to extend their shelf life.
They are perfect quick snacks that you can have directly from the freezer and also work well in smoothies, jams, sauces, and cakes.
Keep in mind that unless you plan to bake the cherries, it is best not to defrost them.
Though the cherries freeze well, they aren’t that appealing once they thaw. It can be mushy and soggy as it loses its water content.
Cherries with or without the pit tastes just as great as fresh ones when frozen. But it is best recommended to pit them beforehand to make things easier once they thaw.
Removing the pit might be difficult when it’s frozen, and once it thaws, the cherries can get mushy. So, it is best to freeze the cherries after pitting them.
I hope this article helped you freeze and store cherries for the long term.
If you have any doubts or would like to share some tips on freezing cherries, it would be great to hear from you.
Feel free to share this article with all your cherry-loving family and friends.