How to Freeze Cherries
Originally published in August 2018; updated July 2020.
While I wish we could have fresh cherries always and forever, preserving them is the next best solution. Whether you are stocking up so you can enjoy these sweet summer gems in the midst of winter or you just have too many cherries to know what to do with, freezing cherries is a super easy solution that anyone can do.
Follow these simple steps and learn how to freeze cherries!
Step 1: Wash Your Cherries
A cold water rinse works well, or you can choose to use a fruit/vegetable spray as well.
Step 2: Remove the Stems
It’s important to wait to remove the stems until you are ready to use/freeze cherries, as the stem helps maintain the fruit’s freshness.
Step 3: Pit the Cherries
Q: Can You Freeze Cherries with Pits in Them?
Yes, you can opt to freeze cherries whole, pit and all, but knowing that I would probably use the cherries right out of the freezer in a smoothie or feed them to my toddler (once thawed), I chose to save time later and do this step now.
If you have a cherry pitter, use it! I didn’t, so pitting the cherries was a bit messy and quite the task (you have to dig them out with a spoon or pop them out with your hand). I ended up slicing each cherry in half to make removing the pits less challenging. I cut around the pit, similar to how you might cut around an avocado pit. It is better to freeze cherries without the pits, especially if you intend to use them for baking later. (Learn how to pit cherries without a cherry pitter here.)
Step 4: Place Pitted Cherries in a Single Layer on a Cookie Sheet Lined with Parchment Paper
Lay out a piece of parchment or wax paper onto a baking sheet and flatten as much as possible. You don’t want the cherries rolling into each other while they are in the freezer, so it is important to get the surface as flat as possible. After the surface is flat, it is time to start removing the stems and pitting the cherries. Place those cherries into a bowl until you have enough to fill the tray. Once you have pitted enough cherries, start laying them out on the tray.
Step 5: Place cherries in freezer.
The time for freezing cherries will vary based on your freezer settings. For me, two cookie sheets of halved cherries took about 6 hours to freeze thoroughly.
Step 6: Remove from freezer and place in bags.
Once I confirmed that the cherries were frozen, I removed them from the cookie sheet and placed them in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. I dated the bag so I would know when to toss them (if I hadn’t used them up by then). Cherries will keep in the freezer for 6 months, or up to a year in a deep freezer. I froze approximately 54 cherries, and that yielded one quart size bag of frozen cherries.
Step 7: Place cherries back in freezer.
The frozen cherries go back into the freezer until it is time to use them.
I can’t wait to enjoy cherries this winter! Please note, after freezing cherries, I recommend using them for blending, preserving, cooking or baking application vs. fresh eating. Unfortunately, these little morsels won’t be the same as fresh picked from the tree. If you do want to eat them fresh, try eating them when they are still frozen or half-thawed for a crisper experience!
Do you have other methods for freezing cherries? What about preserving cherries? Let me know by leaving a comment below. On behalf of Stemilt, thanks for all your support of our World Famous Cherries this year. We are already looking forward to next year
Here are a few recipes to try with frozen cherries:
Frozen cherries taste delicious as a refreshing snack or you can thaw them out and use in a variety of different recipes! You can also freeze cherries for pie which allows you to enjoy one in the off season! Here are a few other recipe ideas that frozen cherries will work great in:
Cherry Frose: Toss some frozen cherries in with a bottle of your favorite Rose to get this must-try summertime drink!
Dairy Free Cherry & Apple Smoothie: This Dairy-Free Cherry & Apple Smoothie is a great way to utilize frozen cherries!
Easy Cherry Crisp: When you are the mood for a little baking, this easy Cherry Crisp is guaranteed to make your taste buds happy.
Also, don’t forget to check out our video on how to freeze cherries! And, of course, if you have a fun way to freeze cherries or other useful tips, let us know in the comments below!