The cherry season won’t last forever, whether you’re talking about pitted cherries, frozen cherries, or anything else in between. However, there may be a way that the pleasant taste of summer can be preserved by freezing cherries.
What You Need for Freezing Cherries
There is no fancy equipment when it comes to storing cherries in the freezer correctly. You can freeze them as they are, but a better way is to freeze pitted cherries, as they make a great option for cherry pie filling using your favorite recipe.
Why Should You Freeze Cherries?
You can eat them directly from the freezer on a hot summer day as a refreshing snack. You can also make smoothies with some overnight oats and berries. However, using this fruit in baked goods may be the finest usage of all.
You’ll find that when you thaw and use them from the freezer in baked recipes such as pies, the sweet taste is just as fresh.
Choosing and Storing Cherries
The first step to preserve cherries is choosing and storing the best of them in peak season.
Next, check that your fresh batches have a rich red, maroon, and vivid yellow hue with undertones of pink. Because of their hue, some people think that these cherries are unripe. However, these are actually juicier and much sweeter.
While picking your cherries, make sure there are no scars on them. Damaged cherries should be removed since they’ll become mushy throughout the freezing process. Then keep these cherries chilled until you’re ready to prepare and freeze them.
Preparing them for Freezing
To preserve, you need to go through some preparatory steps. Begin with ripe ones, and don’t forget that pitting cherries and washing them thoroughly is essential.
Prepare a cookie sheet or any dish coated with baking paper. Then place the already pitted cherries on the baking sheet or wax paper. If you forget to pit the cherries, you can always do it later (when you’ll store them just before freezing).
To pit cherries, poke the middle using a cherry pitter or an avulsed paper clip. You can also chop the cherry in half to remove the pits. Spread cherries on the lined baking sheet in a single layer. Use as many sheets as you need, but keep them in a thin layer so they freeze uniformly and don’t stick together.
Freeze Fresh Cherries in Freezer Bags
If you want to store cherries in freezer bags, first garnish the washed cherries with syrup. This will add a delicious sweetness to sour cherries.
To make the syrup, heat 4 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar together in a pot. Let the juice boil over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until it thickens.
After garnishing, you’ll have sweet cherries to use in your recipes! Place the pitted cherry sheet(s) in the freezer for about 5-6 hours or until it turns frozen solid. You can pile sheets on top of one another, but make sure each tray is lined so they don’t cling to each other or get freezer burn.
After a few hours, place the frozen cherries in a sealed plastic freezer bag using a spoon. Draw the air out using a straw inserted at the tip of the seal. This way, they can be stored for long periods of time.
You can use frozen cherries to make different recipes, from cherry pie filling to pancakes and smoothies. If you go through the steps and freeze them correctly, you’ll find that you’ll have the joy of using cherries all year round!