Cherry Storage and Usage Tips

 

How To Select and Store Cherries

  • When selecting cherries at the store, look for shiny, firm fruits with green stems attached. Green stems are a freshness indicator. Avoid choosing soft cherries with major bruises or blemishes.
  • Store cherries unwashed and uncovered in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
  • Avoid storing cherries near strong-smelling foods (like onions or garlic). Your cherries can take on the odor of these foods which alters their taste.
  • Rinse cherries under cold water only when you are ready to use or eat them.
  • Avoid placing cherries near windows, sunlit areas or other warm areas for a prolonged period of time. Warm environments cause cherries to deteriorate quickly.
  • Periodically check your cherries for decay. Remove rotten cherries immediately in order to preserve the rest of your bag or clamshell.

 

How To Freeze Cherries

Cherries don’t have to be just a summertime treat! Here are two easy methods for freezing cherries, so that you can enjoy this tasty fruit no matter what time of the year it is:

  • First, rinse fresh cherries under cold water. Drain thoroughly.
  • Then, decide your freezing method. You can freeze cherries whole (with or without stems and pits) or use a dry sugar pack.
  • To freeze cherries whole and unsweetenedfollow the steps in our blog post.
  • To freeze cherries with a dry sugar pack, add 1/3 cup of granulated sugar for every 2 cups of unpitted sweet cherries. Toss lightly to coat the cherries. Spread cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • No matter which method you follow, freeze the cherries until firm.
  • Then, fill plastic freezer bags with cherries. Shake the bag to pack the fruit down. Repeat until the bag is almost full.
  • Remove excess air, seal and place in freezer. Be sure to label each bag with the date you put them in the freezer.
  • Remove your frozen cherries as needed, but be sure to return unused cherries to the freezer immediately.

 

How To Pit a Cherry

Enjoying sweet cherries in a recipe or feeding them to young children? Follow one of these methods for removing cherry pits with ease.

Pitting Cherries By Hand

  • Rinse cherries under cold water, and remove the stem.
  • Take an unused, standard-size paper clip and separate the two curved ends. This creates a flat ‘S’ shape.
  • Take the end that best fits the size of your cherry, and push it into the stem end of the cherry.
  • Once the paper clip reaches the end of the cherry pit, twist the paper clip and pop out the pit.

Using a Cherry Pitter to Pit Cherries

  • Rinse cherries under cold water, and remove the stem.
  • Place the cherry on the curved part of the pitter, underneath the spike.
  • Squeeze the pitter so that the spike goes through the cherry, forcing out the pit.
  • Double check to make sure the pit has exited the cherry.

 

How To Dry Cherries

  • Place washed, stemmed and pitted cherries in a single layer on a dehydrator rack – aim for ½” space around each cherry.
  • DRYING: Run the dehydrator at 135 degrees F for 24-30 hours (the time depends on your dehydrator, the amount of moisture in the cherries, and the air temperature where the dryer is located).Turn cherries after 2 hours to prevent them from sticking to the rack.
  • At the 24 hour mark, start checking for “done” cherries. Cherries that are fully dehydrated will not have moisture present when they’re cut in half. Dried cherries feel very much like raisins – just a bit sticky. Let the dried cherries cool for 5-10 minutes and then drop them into a clean and dry glass canning jar.
  • Remove cherries every hour that have completed the drying process until all cherries are dried.
  • CONDITIONING: Fill canning jars 2/3 full with dried cherries and place in a cool dark place. Twice a day for the next 10 days, gently shake the jars. This allows the moisture to redistribute evenly throughout the cherries. If you see mold, toss the cherries and wash the jar. Cherries that are too moist stick to the jar and can’t be shaken – if no mold is present, put them back in the dehydrator to remove the moisture and start the conditioning again. If your cherries are still loose and mold-free on day 10 they’re considered conditioned and should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months.

Dehydrating instructions from Connie Ott of BabytoBoomer

 

How To Juice Fresh Cherries

  • Wash, stem, and pit cherries.
  • Process in a juicer. Reprocess the skins several times until all of the moisture has been removed. You’ll end up with small bricks of cherry skin which are very tasty and can be used in recipes, hot cereal, or smoothies.
  • Any foam that develops can be skimmed off if desired.
  • Cherry juice is best enjoyed immediately; however, if you want to store it and browning bothers you, add citric acid to prevent it.

 

How To Juice Frozen Cherries

  • Allow pitted and stemmed frozen cherries to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Process the thawed cherries in a juicer, with a potato ricer, or by hand. The leftover skins from the ricer and hand squeezing can be dried.
  • Any foam can be skimmed off with a spoon if you like.
  • If you’ll be storing your cherry juice, add citric acid to keep it from browning (optional).

Juicing instructions from Connie Ott of BabytoBoomer