Cherries are delicious on their own or in desserts, but they can be difficult to handle when you have too many. Before throwing out any fruit, consider storing some in the freezer to use and eat later. Before placing the cherries in a bag or container, make sure to let them freeze on a cookie sheet first. In addition, you can preserve them in syrup or save them by covering them with sugar and placing them in a bag.
Preserving cherries in syrup or juice
- 6 cups (1 1/2 kg) cherries
- 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups (250 to 500 g) white sugar
- 4 cups of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid (for every 750 g or 1 1/2 pounds of cherries)
Preserving cherries in sugar
- 1 1/2 pounds (750 g) cherries
- 1/3 to 2/3 cup (60 to 130 g) white sugar
Method 1 of 4: Preparing the cherries for storage
Step 1. Rinse the cherries under cold water
Place them in a colander and under running water from the tap. Move the strainer in a circle as you rinse the cherries so they can be rinsed evenly. Let the excess water drain off before placing the cherries in another container.
Soak the Rainier cherries in a 1/4 cup (60 ml) bowl of lemon juice and water instead of just rinsing them. This will prevent them from fading later
Step 2. Dry them with a paper towel
Use a dry paper towel sheet to remove excess water from the rinsing process. Don't worry about drying each cherry individually, just make sure none of them drip when they go into the freezer.
- If you want, you can also use a clean towel or dish towel.
- If you have more time, you can let the cherries dry naturally on a paper towel.
Step 3. Remove the pits from each cherry with a knife
Insert the tool into the stem side of the fruit and reserve the pits as you go. If you prefer not to use a knife, place a straw in the center and push down. To avoid causing a mess, place the fruit in the open end of a water bottle when inserting the straw.
Feel free to throw away the bones, as you are not going to keep them
Method 2 of 4: Store Frozen Cherries in Bags
Step 1. Place a rack in the bottom of a cookie sheet
Take a low metal rack and place it in the bottom of a cookie sheet. Try to center it so that it stays stable each time you carry the baking sheet.
Although this step is not required, the rack will prevent the cherries from moving too much on the baking sheet
Did you know?
You cannot freeze cherries directly in a bag, as they will freeze unevenly. The cherries on top will harden first and crush the ones below.
Step 2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the rack
Cut a long piece of parchment paper and spread it out on the wire rack. Try to match the dimensions of the cookie sheet so that the rack is completely covered. If the parchment paper container comes in a box with a utility knife attached, roll it out onto the baking sheet so that you can measure it as you go.
If you don't have parchment paper on hand, use wax paper
Step 3. Remove the stems from each cherry
Pinch the stem at the top of each fruit and twist it. Do this in a quick, fluid motion so you can remove the stems carefully and quickly. Since you are going to eat the cherries or cook with them later, you should remove them before freezing.
- Throw the stems away once you're done pulling them out.
- It will be easier to remove the bones after you have done this.
Step 4. Arrange the cherries on the parchment paper
Place them side by side on the tray until it is completely full. Try not to stack the cherries on top of each other. If you have leftover cherries, place a second piece of parchment paper on top of the first layer of cherries, then place the leftovers on top.
Depending on how many cherries you have, it may be necessary to freeze them in batches
Step 5. Let them freeze overnight
Place the baking sheet on an empty shelf or in a corner of the freezer where the cherries will not be squashed. Leave them in the freezer overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. If you're in a rush, check them every 4 hours to see if they are firm.
Step 6. Put them in bags and freeze them for 6 months
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and pour the cherries into a freezer-safe plastic bag. Label the bag with the current date and return it to the freezer. For maximum freshness, use the cherries within half a year.
Method 3 of 4: Preserve Cherries in Syrup or Juice
Step 1. Remove the stems from 6 cups (1 1/2 kg) of cherries
Scoop out the stems from each cherry to prepare for storage. To get rid of the stems as quickly as possible, pinch and twist them in one quick motion. As you remove them, set them aside so they don't mix with the cherries.
Step 2. Pour some sugar into 4 cups (1 liter) of water to make the syrup
Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add a generous amount of water. If you are making tart cherries, add 2 1/2 cups (500 g) of white sugar to the water. For sweeter cherries, add 1 1/4 cups (250 g) of sugar to the saucepan. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is thick.
This recipe is most effective for large quantities of cherries
Step 3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid to the syrup
Pour a small amount of ascorbic acid into each 1 1/2 kg (750 g) and stir well. Although it is not necessary to include this ingredient, you can use it to make the cherries look as fresh as possible while they are soaked in syrup.
You can find it on the Internet or in the supermarket
Step 4. Place the cherries in a freezer-safe jar or bag
Pour the washed, pitted cherries into a storage bag or glass jar, leaving at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) at the top for the syrup. Otherwise, there will not be enough room for the syrup to cover all of the cherries.
Step 5. Pour the cooled syrup into the bag so that all the cherries are covered
Wait for the syrup to cool before adding it to the cherries. Once you have opened the bag or jar, pour the syrup into the container so that the fruit is completely soaked and the bag is almost completely filled with the syrup. Leave 1/2 to 2.5 cm (1/2 to 1 inch) of space at the top of the container so you can seal it without spilling the syrup.
Don't forget to seal the bag or jar to keep out air or moisture
Step 6. Freeze and use within 12 months
Put a label on the storage container before putting it in the freezer to remind you how fresh the cherries are. Although you don't need to use them right away, try to consume them within 1 year. If you wait too long, the cherries will not be as fresh.
Use freezer-safe tape to label the container of cherries
Method 4 of 4: Preserving Cherries in Sugar
Step 1. Place 1 1/2 kg (750 g) of cherries in a large bowl
Take the washed cherries and place them in a bowl so that you can add additional ingredients more easily. If you're making a large number of cherries at once, consider making them in batches.
Make sure you know what kind of cherries to keep, as the process for sweet and sour fruits is slightly different
Step 2. Add sugar to the cherries and let it dissolve
If you want to keep 1 1/2 pounds (750 g) of tart cherries, pour 2/3 cup (130 g) of white sugar into the bowl. To store sweet cherries, use 1/3 cup (60 g) of white sugar for every 1 1/2 pounds (750 g). Stir the sugar into the fruit until it begins to dissolve.
- The sugar must dissolve because of the persistent moisture from the rinsing process.
- Don't worry if you see any sugar when you go to store the cherries, as it may not finish dissolving completely.
Step 3. Pour them into a separate container
Arrange the sugar-soaked cherries in a freezer-safe bag or container, leaving 1/2 to 1-inch (1.2 to 2.5 cm) of space above so the container will seal comfortably. If you put a lot of cherries in a single bag, you may not be able to seal it properly.
Don't worry about pouring excess sugar into the bag, as it won't dissolve once it's in the freezer
As a general rule of thumb, pack smaller batches of cherries with 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) of extra space and larger batches with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of extra space.
Step 4. Use within 1 year to maintain optimal freshness
Label the bag or jar with the type of cherry you have kept, as well as the storage date. When labeling the cherries, don't forget to mention that you preserved them in a dry sugar. Put the container in the freezer and use the fruit within 1 year.