Cherries can be used to flavor smoothies or be blended into drinks. Cherries are also quite enjoyable on their own or in desserts. They can also serve as toppings for ice cream. We have stated all the enjoyable things that can be done with cherries. But we haven’t talked about what to do when you have an overwhelming amount of cherries.
Can you freeze cherries? Yes, you can. Cherries are freezer friendly after you have removed their pits. They can last in the freezer for 12 to 18 months.
Frozen cherries can be enjoyed all year-long. This method of preservation will have you munching on cherries till the next season.
How to Freeze Cherries
There are various ways of freezing cherries.
- Freezing Cherries
- Freezing Cherries in Syrup
- Freezing Cherries in Sugar
This method is the basic method of freezing cherries. It works very well for a small batch of cherries. It can be time-consuming, but it keeps the frozen cherries in optimum condition. In easy steps here’s how to freeze cherries.
Step 1: Preparation
The first step is to prepare the cherries for freezing. Washing and rinsing the cherries is how to prepare them. Set the fruits in a colander and place under running water. Try twirling the colander in circles as you rinse. Let all the water drain away before transferring the fruits into another colander.
Step 2: Drying
Pat down the cherries with a dry towel to dry them. Do not attempt to leave it put to dry. You don’t have to dry each fruit. The aim here is to reduce as much moisture as possible.
Step 3: Pitting
This is the hardest part of the freezing process. Pitting simply means removing the pit in the center of the cherries. This could be done with a cherry pitter, knife, straw, safety pin, or chopsticks. This process could be messy, so be prepared. Insert any of the tools into the stem side of the cherry and either push or scoop out the pit.
Step 4: Pre-freezing
This step is necessary to prevent the fruits from sticking together upon freezing. Spread your now pitted cherries individually with enough space in between them, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Then, place the sheet into the freezer to freeze for a few hours.
Step 5: Storage
After pre-freezing, the next thing to do is to properly store the cherries. Ziploc bags or airtight freezer bags would suffice. Place the half-frozen cherries in the bags and suck out as much air as you can before freezing. Label the bags with a sharpie, describing the contents and date of storage so you can keep track of how long you have stored them.
Freezing Cherries in Syrup
This method works best when you have a large batch of cherries to freeze. For this method, you do not need to remove the pits from the cherries.
Step 1: Remove the Stems
After rinsing your cherries, which is the first step to any of the methods of freezing. Remove the stems from the cherries you have decided to freeze. Do this by tugging the stems and then, twisting them off. Perform that action as quickly as possible. Place the stems aside so they do not get mixed up with the cherries.
Step 2: Prepare the Syrup
The syrup is prepared depending on the kind of cherries you want to freeze. You need a sweeter syrup for sour cherries and a less sweet syrup for sweet cherries. Use half the measurement of sugar used for sour cherries for their sweeter counterparts (One cup of sugar to 4 cups of water for sour cherries).
Put a pan of boiling water on medium heat. Mix in sugar as desired, stir till it dissolves, then, add ½ teaspoon of ascorbic acid per 1.5 pounds, and stir thoroughly. Ascorbic acid is an optional ingredient. It helps to keep the cherries looking fresh in the syrup.
Step 3: Storage
Ziploc bags or airtight freezer bags wouldn’t cut it here. As they could burst during freezing or make the defrosting process messy. Look for glass jars or Tupperware containers. Place the cherries inside them and fill them with syrup until the syrup completely covers the cherries. Leave a little bit of headspace as the water expands upon freezing. Don’t forget to label the jars.
Freezing Cherries in Sugar
Put the washed cherries in a freezer-friendly container and leave enough space so that other ingredients can be added to them. Make sure you identify what kind of cherries you are freezing as this would determine the amount of sugar you pack them in.
Pour in sugar into the containers, more for sour cherries and not so much for sweet cherries. Stir the mixture thoroughly. The moisture on the body of the cherries should make the sugar dissolve. But it’s okay if it doesn’t. Seal the containers and place them into the freezer to freeze. Don’t forget to label the containers.
How to Defrost Frozen Cherries
Cherries can be eaten frozen. But you can leave it overnight in the refrigerator to thaw. Frozen cherries can be blended into your juice or smoothie without any need for thawing.
Can You Freeze Cherries Whole?
Yes, you can. You can freeze your cherries with the pit and all. But, we would advise against it. The pit hardens during freezing and you potentially could damage a tooth biting on one. Also, the pit could put a strain on your blender when you want to blend into smoothies. It is easier to remove the pit before freezing than afterward.