How To: Freeze Cherries

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Learn how to freeze cherries at the height of their freshness to lock in delicious summer flavors and nutrients for year-round enjoyment! You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to prepare cherries for the freezer, even if you don’t have a cherry pitter.

It’s the time of year where summer is coming to an end and we’re all bracing for the start of another season. The leaves are changing color, there’s a chill in the air, and it seems like everyone has pumpkin spice lattes on their mind. But, me, I’ve got fruit on the mind!

Before you say goodbye to summer produce for good, take some time to preserve a little bit of summer love!

You might be wondering “can I freeze cherries?” and the answer is a resounding YES!

Freezing cherries allows you to preserve fresh flavors of wonderful summer sweetness and enjoy them all winter long. In this article, I’ll cover how to freeze cherries, how to store your frozen cherries, as well as what to do if you don’t have a cherry pitter, and what to do with the pits and discarded fruit bits.

This how-to freeze cherries guide is dedicated to summer sweetness.

A vacuum sealed bag of frozen cherries labeled with the contents and the date.
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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 –> Prepare yourself for success by lining a baking sheet! Use parchment paper, wax paper, a flexible cutting mat, or a silicone baking mat. Anything that prevents the cherries from freezing to the baking sheet will work.

No. 2 –> Layer your delicious cherries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. This will prevent sticking when you’re ready to package them and helps them to freeze more quickly.

No. 3 –> Avoid washing and store your cherries in the fridge until just before you’re ready to process.

No. 4 –> If you’re a real cherry lover, you should check out my other cherry preservation methods to up your cherry game. I’ve got recipes for dehydrated cherries, fermented cherries, and canned cherries, too!

Frozen cherries in a mason jar.

Key Ingredients

Cherries: Pick ripe cherries! The biggest cherries are generally the most flavorful and sweet. Set aside any bruised, damaged, or moldy fruit.

A small bucket of cherries.

How To Freeze Cherries

  1. Wash the cherries and allow them to dry. I like to give them a good rinse, then spread out on a clean kitchen towel to dry for a few minutes before proceeding. This makes them less slippery and easier to work with, while also reducing sticking during the freezing process.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper, wax paper, or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Remove all the stems from the cherries, then pit each of the cherries. See below if you don’t have a cherry pitter for other ideas.
  4. Spread the pitted cherries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Place the cherries in the freezer for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  6. Transfer the frozen cherries to your desired packaging, label with the date, and return to the freezer.

How To Pit Cherries Without A Cherry Pitter

Using a cherry pitter is nice, but if you don’t have one there are other options!

  • Place the cherry stem side up on an empty beer bottle and using a stainless steel straw, chopstick, or kebob stick, punch through the top of the cherry and the pit will fall into the beer bottle below. This is my preferred method as I find it much easier and cleaner.
  • Use a small pairing knife and cut the cherries in half to remove the pit. This method works great if you’re planning on using your cherries in pies or baked goods as they are already chopped when they come out of the freezer, it is more time-intensive and definitely messier!

How To Store Frozen Cherries

Storing your cherries in the freezer is a personal choice, depending on your equipment, available space, and desire.

  • Freezer safe containers: This could be anything from a plastic container to a glass jar. These containers generally stack nicely, but also take up the most room. These are less likely to be airtight, and more likely to cause freezer burn due to the excess air in the container.
  • Freezer zip-lock bags: These bags are excellent for short-term storage as they are easy to flat pack, but it’s not possible to remove all the air from the bags, which can cause your fruit to freezer burn.
  • Vacuum sealed packages: This, in my opinion, is the best storage option. The cherries can be vacuum sealed flat and tucked nearly anywhere in your freezer. This option takes the least amount of room, while also removing all the excess air from the package preventing freezer burn.

How To Use Frozen Cherries

Frozen cherries in a mason jar.

What To Do With The Pits And Stems

You’re going to have a few stems and pits leftover after this process, as well as some discarded fruit due to bruises and mold. This doesn’t all have to go into the trash!

The easiest way to deal with your cherry pits, stems, and discarded fruit is to toss them into your compost bucket, bin, or pile.

Some people actually keep the pits and make cherry pit liqueur!

Fresh cherries spilling out of a bucket.

More Ways To Preserve Fresh Produce

AVID ARMOR Chamber Vacuum Sealer: This CHAMBER VACUUM SEALER works much better than a bar-style sealer. It’s well built, and after months of continuous use, I am confident it will last years and years in my kitchen. If you cook, hunt, or harvest a lot, you’ll definitely be interested in this unit. Use the discount code CRAVE to save on your purchase!

If you love this recipe, please give it a star rating or leave a comment below! This helps me to create more content you enjoy!

📖 Printable Recipe

A vacuum sealed bag of frozen cherries labeled with the contents and the date.

How To: Freeze Cherries

Allyson Letal
Learn how to freeze cherries at the height of their freshness to lock in delicious summer flavors and nutrients for year-round enjoyment! You'll be surprised at how easy it is to freeze them, even if you don't have a cherry pitter, and you'll love having frozen cherries on hand!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Freeze Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course How To:
Cuisine American
Servings 2 lbs
Calories 57 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs fresh cherries

Instructions
 

  • Wash the cherries and allow them to dry.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper, wax paper, or a silicone baking mat.
  • Remove all the stems from the cherries, then pit each of the cherries. See below if you don’t have a cherry pitter for other ideas.
  • Spread the pitted cherries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Place the cherries in the freezer for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  • Transfer the frozen cherries to your desired packaging, label with the date, and return to the freezer.

Notes

how to pit cherries without a cherry pitter

Using a cherry pitter is nice, but if you don’t have one there are other options!
  • Place the cherry stem side up on an empty beer bottle and using a stainless steel straw, chopstick, or kebob stick, punch through the top of the cherry and the pit will fall into the beer bottle below. This is my preferred method as I find it much easier and cleaner.
  • Use a small pairing knife and cut the cherries in half to remove the pit. This method works great if you’re planning on using your cherries in pies or baked goods as they are already chopped when they come out of the freezer, it is more time-intensive and definitely messier!

how to store frozen cherries

Storing your cherries in the freezer is a personal choice, depending on your equipment, available space, and desire.
  • Freezer safe containers: This could be anything from a plastic container to a glass jar. These containers generally stack nicely, but also take up the most room. These are less likely to be airtight, and more likely to cause freezer burn due to the excess air in the container.
  • Freezer zip-lock bags: These bags are excellent for short-term storage as they are easy to flat pack, but it’s not possible to remove all the air from the bags, which can cause your fruit to freezer burn.
  • Vacuum sealed packages: This, in my opinion, is the best storage option. The cherries can be vacuum sealed flat and tucked nearly anywhere in your freezer. This option takes the least amount of room, while also removing all the excess air from the package preventing freezer burn.

what to do with the pits and stems

You’re going to have a few stems and pits leftover after this process, as well as some discarded fruit due to bruises and mold. This doesn’t all have to go into the trash!
The easiest way to deal with your cherry pits, stems, and discarded fruit is to toss them into your COMPOST BUCKET, bin, or pile.
Some people actually keep the pits and make CHERRY PIT LIQUEUR!

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1gCalories: 57kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFiber: 2gSugar: 12g
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