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Ever get a huge harvest from your cherry trees or catch a great produce sale at your local grocery store? If so, you probably understand the frustration of them spoiling before you can eat them all. But you can keep that from happening with a super simple food preservation tip.
So, can you freeze cherries and make last a lot longer? You sure can and, let me tell you, cherries freeze great! One could even argue that they are even better than when they’re fresh. They retain all of their flavor and the harder, frozen texture almost makes eating them feel like candy. Freezing them will extend their life from 5-10 days in the fridge all the way to 12 months (or more if vacuum packed) in the freezer. The easiest way to do is flash freeze them, put them in a freezer grade container, and then store them for long term freezing. You can add them to a drink for an icy treat, eat them like candy, or add them to one of your favorite baked goods; all without even needing to thaw them out!
Let’s keep on reading to learn all the ways you can freeze cherries!
Can You Freeze Cherries?
As we said above, grapes are just about perfect. Best of all you can make them last an extra long time by freezing them. Part of what makes them freeze so well is their thick skin. Their skin protects them from some of the cellular damage most fruits and veggies experience when frozen.
And we aren’t joking; they are just as good frozen as they are fresh off the vine.
|Time To Freeze||2 to 4 hours (flash freeze)|
12 to 24 (deep freeze)
|Time to Thaw||a few hours in the fridge|
Can use frozen
|Uses||anything you’d use fresh cherries for|
|Freezer Life||up to 12 months|
Frozen Vs Non-frozen
|Freezer Life||Fridge Life|
|up to 1 year||5 to 10 days|
You are going to need the following supplies:
How To Freeze Cherries
Our preferred method of freezing cherries, as we said earlier, is to flash freeze them whole. But, you can also syrup pack them. Don’t worry, both methods are still easy. Let’s first take a look at how to flash freeze.
How To Flash Freeze
Flash freezing is the best method we have found to keep foods with a lot of moisture in them from sticking together when freezing them. Basically, you do a short freeze, just enough to harden any moisture on and just under the surface. The steps to flash freeze are:
- take aluminum foil or parchment paper and use them to cover a cookie sheet
- place the cherries on the cookie sheet in a single layer with enough space between them for air to circulate
- put them in the freezer in a place where they can be undisturbed for about 2 to 4 hours
- pull them out and move on to the next step
Flash freezing is affective with almost anything you can freeze. We prefer to use it with smaller foods with higher moisture content like blueberries, blackberries, carrots, watermelon and cantaloupe chunks, and raspberries.
Start with the largest, freshest, most ripe cherries you can find. You don’t want them to be bruised or damaged at all.
- Wash your cherries first. We pour them into a colander and run them under cold water in the sink
- dry them off completely with a paper towel
- if you like, you can pit them at this time
- it’s easiest with a multi cherry pitter but you can also do it with a knife
- flash freeze them
- label some freezer bags with the contents, freeze date, and use by date
- pull your freshly flash frozen food from freezing (say that 3 times fast) and add them into the bags
- put the bags back into the freezer, or a different one dedicated for storage and keep at a stable temperature for 24 hours.
Syrup Packing Cherries
Syrup packing cherries is very similar to how you would syrup pack oranges. You will need to make the syrup but it’s really easy and included in the instructions below. The amount of water and sugar you use is dependent on the amount of cherries you are freezing. We use a 4:4:1 ratio or 4 parts cherries and water to 1 part sugar.
- As with the flash freezing method, choose the best cherries you can and wash them well
- Pit them to avoid biting into a frozen pit later
- Use a measuring cup to to determine how many cherries you have (let’s us 4 cups, as an example)
- Pour the same amount of water (4 cups) as you have in cherries into a stock pot and heat to boiling
- Once it boils, add in your sugar (using the 4:4:1 ratio that would be 1 cup of sugar) and bring back to a rolling boil; stirring occasionally
- Now, stir in your (4 cups) of cherries and bring to a rolling boil again
- When the water boils again, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for about 20 minutes or so
- Once the cherry syrup concoction is cool, use a spoon or ladle to scoop the cherries and syrup into a Mason Jar leaving about ¼” of head room at the top of the jar
- Hand tighten the lid and write the contents, freeze date, and best by date on top