How to Store Cherries?

How to Choose, Store, Wash and Preserve Cherries?

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on washing cherries

Everybody likes cherries.

Cherry is a tasty berry that many people adore. It can be eaten fresh, as a jam, you can make juice of it and add to different desserts.

Moreover, they are extremely useful. Besides a high concentration of vitamins C, A, PP, berries contain antioxidants and natural antibiotics. They are rich in mineral salts, the concentration of which is perfectly balanced and ideally absorbed by our body. Cherry tree fruits contain various trace elements, which are very important for children and teenagers.

Unfortunately, the fresh cherry season is very short. So how to keep this source of nutrients until next year? It is quite possible if you know how to store this wonderful berry properly.

How to store cherries to make them last longer? It’s very easy!

When and How to Pick Cherries?

The berries must be properly selected if you want to store them. Here are a few useful tips to help you choose the fruits:

  • Select slightly ripened, elastic, and shiny berries without any damage;
  • Berries of darker color are much sweeter and more useful than their lighter friends;

Be sure to try berries and sniff them before purchasing. Their sour-sweet taste and aroma should not contain the notes characteristic of the fermentation process.

Very sticky or soft berries have spent a lot of time in the sun and are no longer suitable for long-term storage.

Choose cherries with green stems. If they are dark or absent at all, then this crop may be not very fresh.

It is very important to pick berries without worms if you want to store them. To do this, you need to break down one ripe berry and check it inside. If you find a worm there, it is likely that the whole party will be like that.

 refrigerate cherries
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Best Way to Store Fresh Cherries

There are several options to store cherries. Everything depends on how you want to use them:

  1. storage of fresh berries in a cool place;
  2. refrigerate cherries in the freezer;
  3. drying cherries;
  4. storage of cherries in recycled form.
How to Store Cherries

How to Store Fresh Cherries?

It is not realistic to keep the fresh cherries for a long time. But with a correct approach, you can extend their life for a week or two. And since cherry is very useful for our health, it is worth trying.

If there is a dry, well-ventilated basement, then, under certain conditions, it is quite possible to save the cherry 10-12 days. For this purpose, it is necessary to provide humidity of 85-90%, and fluctuations of temperature in the range of 8-12 ° C (50°-53°F). In these conditions cherries will remain fresh and keep all vitamins during the specified term.

For keeping in the fridge, it is best to put the berries in the package. So they will last about 20 days. But avoid washing cherries in this case.

Cherries like it cold, but not everyone is aware of this. They will lose more of their quality after one hour spent at room temperature rather than after the whole day spent in the fridge. So if you want to make sure you will keep them fresh, juicy, and sweet longer, we recommend you take a few hints into consideration to use at home when you buy cherries next time.

  1. Put them in the fridge unwashed and keep them dry there.
  2. For better storage conditions in the fridge, try to place cherries in layers on a baking tray between paper towels.
  3. Before freezing, rinse them quickly, pat dry, and freeze in airtight plastic packets.
  4. When refrigerated, cherries must be kept uncovered at the coldest part of the fridge.
  5. Make sure that these delicious pieces of fruit stay away from any strong smelling food.
  6. Check your cherries and discard bad or spoiled pieces of fruit once you notice them. Remember that one bad cherry can spoil the whole batch!

These easy tips will allow you to significantly extend the shelf life of these tasty and healthy pieces of fruit so that you could enjoy them longer.

How to Store Fresh Cherries?
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Should Fresh Cherries Be Refrigerated?

Berries can be frozen with stones or without them. Note, that cherries with stones retain more juice. In order for the freezing to go well, you need to follow some simple but important rules:

The time between picking berries and passing them to the fridge must be minimal, in this case, all the vitamins and nutrients are preserved.

For freezing, take ripe berries, but overripe. Choose fruits without damage. Cherries must be properly washed. But dry them before freezing.

Arrange the berries in small bags and put them in the freezer. The optimum temperature for storing cherries is in the range from minus 18 to minus 23 degrees. At this thermal condition, the shelf life can be from 8 to 12 months, almost until the new season.

It is sensible to freeze cherries in small portions, not exceeding 500 grams. It is convenient to use plastic containers with lids for freezing.

If you use ordinary bags, it is better to freeze the berries on a tray first, spreading them out in a thin layer, and then fold them in portions. This way each cherry will retain its shape.

The cherry can easily absorb other odors, so make sure to seal well the bag or container.

how to freeze cherries

Hints for Housewives

Do you refrigerate cherries? If so, you must know the following.

  • If you have frozen cherry with stones, then you need to use it for food for one year. The cherry stones contain amygdalin. This substance is destroyed during long-term storage and releases a very strong poison, hydrocyanic acid.
  • You need to defrost the berries gradually by removing the container from the freezer and placing it in the refrigerator.
  • All frozen berries are designed for only one defrosting, so you cannot re-freeze them. That is why it is advisable to refrigerate cherries or any other berries, in small portions, to use at a time.
Do you refrigerate cherries
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Drying Cherries

Another option for storing cherries is drying. You can use a special dryer or oven to do this. It should be borne in mind that if the temperature in the automatic dryer rises above 60 degrees, vitamin C will begin to collapse. So it is important to choose the right mode for this drying. If the berries are dried in the oven, leave the door slightly open and keep the temperature low.

The average time for such a process is from 5 to 9 hours. The benefits of dried cherries are no different than those of fresh fruits. It is better to store dried berries in glass containers or in paper bags. The storage term is 12 months.

Preserving Cherries

Cherry is one of the fruits of which are valuable both when consumed fresh and in various types of preservation. With the help of simple actions, it is not difficult to preserve the indispensable medicinal qualities of cherries and enjoy their taste and benefits all year round.

Therefore, it is not at all surprising that in our time a great number of housewives prepare the cherry for the winter. They use popular recipes of jam, liquor, syrup, etc.

Cherries Nutirition Facts Chart

Hints for Preserving Cherries

When sterilizing whole cherries, heat the water on a low fire. Only with a slow increase in temperature, the skin of cherries does not crack.

Cherry in its own juice is the easiest way to preserve its vitamins. Just lay the berries tightly in jars and sterilize them for 20 minutes. To protect the jars from bursting during sterilization, put a towel or cloth on the bottom of the pan.

To make cherry wine from, you need to remove the stones. They can give a bitter taste.

When making liquor or syrup, it is not necessary to remove the stones. To make the drinks spicy and aromatic, add some nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla.

When preparing cherries for jam, whole berries should be pricked with a needle and blanched for 15-20 seconds.

Two Types Of Cherry You Can Find On the Market

For most of us, there is only one type of cherry and it is red cherry. However, there are in fact two types of it that you can buy in a store.

  • Sweet red cherries
  • Rainier cherries

Alright, so what is the difference, you may wonder? Sweet red cherries are always red. Of course, the shade of red may vary but it is not that important as the depth of color. This type of cherries must have deep, dark saturation.

Also, red cherries must always be firm. It is the major sign of freshness. In addition, you can tell that the cherries are fresh by their stems. If they are intact and have a bright green color, then your cherries are at their highest quality. However, the absence of stems does not mean that the cherries are bad or old. If they are wrinkled along the shoulders, then they might be a bit too old because they were kept at room temperature. But still, such cherries are still sweet and edible.

As for the Rainier cherries, these reddish-yellow orbs are not underripe as you might have thought. This color is their natural color when they are fully ripe. As well as the brown flecks which indicate the sugar accumulation. In addition, this type of cherries is softer than the red ones.

Two Types Of Cherry You Can Find On the Market
Credits: Billion Photos, via

Cherry Varieties

When you are up to buying some cherries, it is good to know at least the basic varieties of them to be able to decide which one you would like to have. Some of us prefer sweet cherries and others like less sugary ones more. Also, the exterior can matter quite a lot for some people.

So what we suggest you do is to learn more about the most widespread and popular cherry varieties on the market.

  1. Bing is the most popular sweet cherry type. These cherries have a significant dark red color, they are firm, sweet, and juicy when you bite them.
  2. Skeena is another type of cherries. You can easily recognize them since they are very large and nearly black.
  3. Lapin cherries are rather sweet and quite firm.
  4. Sweetheart sort of cherries are known for their heart-like shape.
  5. Rainier cherries are double colored, being yellow with red or pink blush.
  6. Montmorency are bright red and pretty sour, with tender skin and they are also pretty soft.

So, like this, you are now aware of the most common cherry types so you can easily define which one you will need next time.

Cherry Varieties
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Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to preserving cherries, many questions occur. To give you a hand, we have collected the most frequent questions.

When are cherries in season?

Everything depends on the sort of cherries. If it is sweet cherry, its season lasts from May till August whilst sour cherry season has a very short harvesting period. Usually, you can pick them for a week or two in the middle of June in the warm areas and in late July and August in the colder areas.

When are cherries in season
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Should cherries be refrigerated?

For keeping the cherries fresh, refrigerating is the best variant. At room temperature, they lose their juiciness and quality after one hour already whilst in the fridge they can last without damage for a day and more.

Should cherries be refrigerated
Photo by Irita Antonevica from Pexels

What is the best way of storing fresh cherries?

Fresh cherries feel better in the fridge where they can remain tasty from three days to a couple of weeks. 

How do you store cherries properly?

When storing cherries, take into account several essential tips.

First of all, always put them in the dark and cool place. Sunshine is killing them and makes cherries dry. That is why using your fridge is the best way to store fresh cherries.

Also, cherries collect other odors easily, so, when putting them to the fridge, cover the container with a plastic cover or a lid. Also, you can use any plastic bag for the fridge.

Another option is to freeze them.

How do you store cherries properly
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When does the black cherry season begin?

Dark-sweet cherries have the longest period of harvesting. You can pick them starting from May and till early September.

When is Bing cherries season?

Bing cherry is a sort of sweet cherries and its season lasts from May till August.

How to store Bing cherries?

Bing cherries shall be stored the same way as all the other sorts of cherries. Find a cool and dark place and leave it there (the fridge will be perfect). Ensure that there are no strong odors nearby as cherries pick them easily.

How do you store cherries properly
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

When are sour cherries in season?

Sour cherries can be picked during a very short period of time. Their harvesting season lasts for a couple of weeks only and takes place in mid-June in the warm areas and in late July or August in the colder regions.

How to tell if cherries are bad?

If you noticed that your cherries have a mushy and too soft surface, if they changed their color or there is any discoloration and of course, if you find mold, these are all signs of the cherries being bad.

How to store freshly picked cherries?

If you have just brought some cherries from the garden, the best way to store them is to put them to the fridge in a plastic bag. Otherwise, if you leave them in the room, they won’t last longer than one or two days.

This is what you have to know if you ever wondered how to store cherries after picking.

When do cherries come into season?

The harvesting time for cherries depends on the particular sort. However, the average cherry season lasts from May until the beginning of September.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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