When it comes to cherries, there’s a second option: freezing them. By doing this, you can have these fruits readily available to make a smoothie, pies, jams, and many other delicious things.
Moreover, the process is very simple, and it helps lock in the flavor of both sour and sweet cherries and keep all the nutrients packed inside. To freeze cherries, you have to wash them, pit them, lay them out on a baking sheet, and place them in the freezer.
In this article, we’ll show you different techniques to freeze cherries and teach you how you can easily pit them. Let’s being!
How to Freeze Cherries with Pits
The easiest way to freeze cherries is by leaving the pits in them because the process requires less preparation. For this method, you just need a cookie sheet, a paper towel, and a few zip-top bags.
Then, all you have to do to freeze cherries with pits is the following:
- Wash the cherries to remove any dirt and little crawlers that could’ve found their way to them. We like to let them soak in a sink or bowl of full of cool water.
- Pull out any bad cherries. Those that are bruised or that have big brown spots will become mushy during the freezing process
- Blot the remaining cherries dry with a paper towel. Remove as much moisture as possible to reduce the risk of them being frozen in a lump.
- Lay them out on a cookie sheet. Try to arrange them so that they’re not touching their neighbor and can freeze evenly.
- Place the sheet in the freezer for a few hours. Ideally, you should leave them overnight.
- Once you frezee your cherries, seal them in a zip-top bag. We always try to remove as much air from the bag as we can so the cherries won’t dry out as much. You can partially seal the bag and then insert a straw at the end of the seal to suck the rest of the air out.
When your cherries are completely frozen, you can pull them out and eat them at any time. However, we recommend letting them thaw for a few minutes first.
It’s easy to forget how you’ve prepared things that go into the freezer, especially if they’ve been there for a while now. You shouldn’t forget that there are pits in your cherries because you can break a tooth by trying to bite through them. When we use this technique, we make sure to label the zip-top bag and note that you should pit the cherries before eating.
How to Freeze Fresh Cherries
If you wish to freeze your cherries in a way that leaves them ready to become a smoothie, syrup, and so on afterward, this is how to do it:
- Wash the cherries with a cool water rinse or a soak in your kitchen sink or a bowl of full of cool water.
- Pull out any bruised cherries and pat the remaining ones completely dry.
- When you are ready to freeze the cherries, remove the stems. It’s important to do it right before freezing them because the stem helps maintain the fruit’s freshness.
- Spit the cherries. We’ll teach you different ways you can do that down below.
- Lay out the cherries out on a rimmed cookie sheet, spreading them in a single layer and making sure that they’re not touching each other.
- Place the sheet in the freezer and leave it there for a few hours. If possible, we recommend leaving them overnight.
- Grab a zip-top or freezer bag and store your cherries in them. Press all the remaining air out of the bag and seal it tightly.
- Label and store it in your freezer.
Cherry pits contain a small amount of cyanide, which is released when the pit is crushed or chewed. If you accidentally swallowed a few pits, don’t worry, you won’t get poisoned. However, it’s crucial to remove them before using them for cooking to avoid any risks.
While this process can be tedious and messy in some cases, here are a few techniques you can use to pit your cherries before freezing them quickly:
This is the quickest and easiest way to get rid of pits mess-free. These small kitchen gadgets have a removable tray inside where you can place one o several cherries at a time, depending on the model. Then, you simply have to push down on the lid, so the sharp cutters push the pits out and into a holding space below the tray. And that’s it!
With this method, you have to remove the stem from the cherry and then hold the fruit between two fingers. Push a chopstick or a sturdy straw through the stem hole using the smaller end, and push the pit out of the cherry.
For a mess-free approach, you can place the cherry on the mouth of an empty glass bottle so you can push the pits into the bottle. Just make sure that the bottle is small enough to hold the fruit without it falling inside.
This is the easiest method for pit removal, but it’s also the messiest (and probably the most fun!). If you aren’t concerned about the final look of the pitted cherries, remove the stem, rip the fruit in two and remove the pit.
For the perfect aesthetic look, you should split the cherries in half. With a paring knife, cut all the way around the fruit. Turn the two cherry sides in opposite directions and simply remove the pit with your fingers.
How Long Do Cherries Last?
If you got carried away picking fresh cherries, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! The good news is that you don’t have to gorge yourself on them before they go bad.
Both sour and sweet cherries stay fresh in your fridge for about 4 to 10 days.
If you still have some leftovers past that time, you can freeze them following any of the methods we’ve mentioned before. Frozen cherries can last up to a year in your freezer if properly sealed and protected from moisture. If you want the best quality, then we recommend using the cherries within 6 months of freezing.
While cherry season only lasts for a couple of months, you can take advantage of peak season and harvest a bunch to freeze later. This way, you can enjoy them as sweet, frozen treats or blend them into a smoothie or bake them in a delicious pie no matter the time of the year!
While pitting them is usually the most challenging part of the whole process, we’ve given you some useful and cool tips to ease the chore.
All that’s left is for you to choose your preferred method, and then you can store them in your freezer for up to a year!