Fruit can be expensive, so it’s no wonder if you want to reduce any risk of wasting things like cherries. Knowing how to store them and how long they should keep for is a key part of the battle. Cherries have a short shelf-life and are always better eaten very fresh, so try to use them up quickly.
How long do cherries last in the fridge? The fresher your cherries are when you buy them, the better they will keep, and some may last for up to ten days in the fridge, although most will only keep for about a week. Overripe, sliced, or damaged cherries will last only for a few days before they go bad, so choose your cherries carefully and don’t cut them in advance.
Should You Keep Cherries in the Fridge?
Yes, cherries need to be kept in the fridge if they are to last. Cherries will go bad quickly at room temperature and may only last for about a day. In the fridge, they will keep for a lot longer, and could last anywhere between four and ten days, depending on their ripeness when they are stored.
Only store cherries on the counter if you are going to eat them the same day. Cherries often taste better at room temperature, so it’s okay to get them out in advance of eating them but put any that you don’t consume back in the fridge as soon as you can.
Store cherries in a warm part of your fridge, away from the icebox, so that they don’t suffer from damage as a result of getting too cold.
Should You Wash Cherries Before Storing Them?
No, don’t wash cherries when you buy them unless you are going to eat them directly. Store them in the fridge or on the counter without washing them. Washing cherries when you buy them introduces moisture, and this will make them go bad much more quickly. Store them unwashed and then rinse them only when you are ready to eat them.
However, when you first bring cherries home, it is worth picking through and removing any that are damaged or too ripe. If these go bad, they will spread mold to the others.
If they are still okay to eat, place them in a bowl, and aim to wash and use them soon. Don’t let them contaminate the rest of your cherries.
How Do You Tell If Cherries Are Still Good?
When selecting cherries, you want to choose the very best options. Plump, firm, bright red cherries are great for putting in the fridge for a few days. Darker red ones will be sweeter if you want to eat them immediately, but they will not keep as well. Avoid any very dark cherries, or those that have turned squishy.
Cherries darken as they ripen, so you can choose your cherries according to your needs. If you plan to keep them for several days, don’t choose the dark cherries that are ready to eat immediately; go up a few shades instead. Bright red cherries should still be good, but they will keep a little better.
Don’t choose pale red cherries if you can avoid it. These will keep well, but fruits that do a lot of ripening in a fridge or on a counter don’t tend to have as much flavor. You may be able to store them for longer, but they will rarely taste as good as cherries bought ripe.
This is true of a lot of fruits; the ones ripened away from the plant last longer but lack taste.
How Can You Tell If Cherries Have Gone Bad?
A spoiled cherry will turn mushy and dark. The fruit may end up squashed because it will have little structure, and so it will leak juices everywhere. It may also have specks of mold appearing anywhere that the skin has been broken.
Don’t eat cherries that are mushy. They aren’t enjoyable, and they may have bacteria in them that are breaking the fruit down. Remove them from the bag or container so that they don’t compromise the other cherries and compost them.
If you accidentally eat a bad cherry, it will probably taste unpleasant. Spit it out, but don’t worry too much; it’s unlikely to hurt you. Sometimes, moldy cherries will take on a sour, unpleasant smell, and this is another good sign that they should not be consumed.
Can You Freeze Cherries?
You can freeze cherries if you want to use them for baking, but they will be too soft to enjoy fresh. Freezing breaks down the cells and spoils the texture. However, it’s a good option if you are going to bake and you can’t use the cherries up in time.
To freeze cherries, rinse them, dry them, and spread them on a baking sheet, spacing each one out from the others. Put them in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Once they have frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or a sealed bag, and put them back in the freezer. When you are ready to use them, defrost them in cold water or in the fridge.
Some people mix the cherries with a little sugar before freezing, which is also an option. If you’re going to do this, rinse and pit them, and remove any stems. Stir sugar through the cherries and put them whole in an airtight container. These cherries will be sweeter, so reduce the amount of sugar in your final baked product.
Frozen cherries should keep for up to a year or even longer, but their texture will no longer be good. The longer they are frozen, the more the texture will deteriorate, so make sure you can use them in a baked product where this won’t matter.
Cherries will keep reasonably well in the fridge if they are just ripe and undamaged. Make sure you remove any cherries that are too ripe or have been bruised, as these will go bad much more quickly and could compromise the whole container. Aim to use cherries within a few days or a week, if possible, as few will last for longer than this.