If you’ve got too many cherries to eat and are wondering what to do with lots of cherries, today we’re going to learn the easiest and best way to preserve cherries! Yes, I’m going to show you how to pit and how to freeze cherries!
You can store your frozen cherries in the freezer for the next 3-6 months and use them in smoothies, jams, cherry pies, breakfast or dessert cherry recipes.
Freezing Cherries At Peak Season
Cherries are healthy, delicious, and come around for just a few months during the year. Over the last month, there have been so many ripe and sweet cherries, it makes me happy and sad at the same time. I’m glad because they’re finally here, but I know before we blink, these cherries will be gone. Nada, no cherries. Actually, it’s almost that time.
So we better preserve at least some of these delicious cherries for later. One great way to preserve cherries is by pitting and freezing them.
Why Freeze Cherries
Freezing fresh produce is a great way to preserve the nutrients and flavor from fruits and vegetables when they’re in season and ripe. Here are some good reasons to preserve cherries by freezing:
- reduce food waste
- preserve vitamins and minerals in cherries at peak season
- preserve flavor and taste
- control what goes into your frozen cherries (no added sugar or other additives, just cherries!)
How To Pit Cherries (The Easy Way)
So, we want to freeze cherries that are absolutely ready to eat – therefore we just need the cherry meat and want to get rid of the pit. Pits aren’t a good ingredient for smoothies or cherry pie.
- Go through your cherries and remove the bad ones, you don’t really need to preserve those. However, if there’s only a small “bad” spot on a cherry, feel free to cut it out and proceed with pitting/freezing.
- Remove any stems and leaves
- Wash your cherries thoroughly, use a colander and stir gently with your hands under running water.
- Use a firm reusable straw or chopsticks to pit your cherries. Insert the straw (or chopstick) into che cherry at the stem end – this will push the pit right out and it’s so much faster and easier than cutting each and every cherry open to remove the pits.
However you decide to pit your cherries, I highly recommend wearing rubber gloves if you don’t want your hands to look messy for the next 2 days. As you can see I had forgotten to buy some, so I’m wearing plastic gloves that didn’t really fit – they still worked!
How To Freeze Cherries – Step By Step
Step 1: While you’re pitting the cherries have a freezer bag already open to collect them. Pit a cherry, put it in the bag, repeat.
Collect the pits in a separate bowl to throw out or use further in things like these cherry stone pillows that can keep you warm during winter.
Step 2: Once the freezer bag is mostly full, gently press out any excess air before you proceed to close the bag. Be careful not to smash the cherries when you’re pressing out the air.
Step 3: Spread the cherries apart as much as possible and lay the bag flat in the freezer. If there’s any additional air, make sure to open the bag a bit to press it out, then close again and freeze.
Step 4: Repeat this for as many cherries as you have and stack the bags with cherries to freeze on top of one another.
How Long Will Frozen Cherries Last For
Freezing cherries this way will keep them good for at least three months, honestly even longer. I rarely keep track of this, but I’ve had cherries in my freezer for 6 months and more and they were still good. What you don’t want to do once you’ve frozen the cherries is to defrost and freeze again – this will spoil them, so avoid it. Take as many cherries as you need from the freezer bag and then put the bag back into the freezer.
Do You Need To Thaw Frozen Cherries Before Using
This depends on what you want to use the frozen cherries for. For smoothies I don’t thaw the cherries. They give smoothies a nice creamy, but also kinda slushy texture.
For jam, you can go either way, but I actually prefer thawing them first, although I’ve done both. Cooking them down from frozen takes a little longer on the stove.
I’d only thaw cherries If I’m using them for baking, as they can make baked desserts (or pancakes) mushy if they’re not thawed. To thaw the cherries, simply fill a bowl with warm water, add the bag with frozen cherries to it and leave for about 10 minutes. Remember to remove any extra liquid that might have come out from the frozen cherries before adding them to your baking recipe.
How To Use Frozen Cherries
There are so many things you can do with pitted and frozen cherries. You can make cherry pies, smoothies, healthy ice cream, use them on your breakfast yogurt or overnight oats, in desserts like black forest cake, or even in alcoholic drinks.
Here are some healthy cherry recipes you might like:
- Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Cake
- Healthy Cherry Ice Cream Smoothie
- Coconut Cherry Smoothie
- Oatmeal Cherry Pancakes
- Oatmeal Cherry Crumble Pie
- Healthy One Minute Black Forest Cake
- 2 cups cherries
- Remove bad cherries, the stems and the leaves.
- Wash the cherries thoroughly and pat dry or let air dry for 10-20 minutes.
- Pit the cherries by inserting a straw at the stem end and pushing the pit out. Collect pitted cherries in a freezer bag, the pits to discard in another bowl. (I recommend using gloves if you don't want to dye your fingers for the next few days).
- Once the bag is 2/3 full, lay flat, spread cherries apart, and press gently to remove any excess air.
- Close the bag and lay flat in the freezer.
- Repeat this process for as many cherries as you desire.
Nutrition InformationYield 1 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 184Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 6gSugar 37gProtein 3g