Cherries add a dash of decadence to any recipe, whether it is sweet or savory. They are full of essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Any time is a good time to eat some cherries. There are several varieties of cherries, from sour to sweet. Unfortunately, they are seasonal, meaning you can buy them fresh only during a specific time of the year.
The answer is to freeze these red spheres of deliciousness. Yes! You can freeze cherries for a long time. There is a good possibility that you have had frozen cherries in the past. They last a lot longer when you freeze them, but their texture undergoes some changes. There are a few different ways of freezing cherries, so pick the one that suits your preference.
Can You Freeze Cherries?
The short answer to this question is yes, but there are different ways to freeze them. Besides, the cherries will come out softer when you unfreeze them. Also, you cannot freeze all the cherries you have bought.
When NOT to Freeze Cherries?
- If the cherries are overripe, do not freeze them. Overripe cherries are hard to preserve even if you freeze them because they have already begun the process of going bad. An overripe cherry at room temperature will not even last a couple of days. In the refrigerator, it will go bad within 2 weeks or less. Due to the already dwindling shelf life, it is not a good idea to freeze overripe cherries. Either consume/use them on the spot or throw them away, but do not freeze them.
- If your container of cherries is close to the expiration date, it is better to consume rather than freeze them. The reason for doing so is the same as above: the shelf life of these cherries has already decreased. It is better to use them right away rather than freezing them.
- If your cherries taste or feel funny at room temperature, take a good look at them and ask yourself a few questions. Are they mushy, leaking, discolored, or wrinkly? If yes, assume that they have already gone bad. Do not use, eat, or freeze these cherries because they are not good.
In brief, if a cherry is spoiled or spoiling, do not freeze it. Freezing an overripe/almost expired cherry is not always bad, but the change in texture after thawing is significant. Overripe cherries are already softer than other cherries, so imagine how mushy they’ll get once you unfreeze them. Besides, there are numerous ways to use these soft, sweet overripe cherries. Toss them onto a cake or make a jam/chunky sauce out of them. They are also an excellent choice to add to smoothies and sherbets.
When to Freeze Cherries?
Freeze them if they are plump, firm, and shiny. Such cherries are fresh, ripe, and the perfect candidates for freezing. Usually, they will be free of any dark spots or wrinkles. They are not too sweet or sour. Their texture will become softer after you unfreeze them, but they will still have a bite to them. You can also eat them as frozen treats directly from the freezer. You can also freeze slightly raw cherries.
Is it Safe to Freeze Cherries?
Frozen cherries are safe for consumption as long as the storage conditions are good. Most sources mention that frozen cherries can last up to 6-12 months. They are still safe to consume after 12 months in most cases, but it is not recommended. Whether your frozen cherries are safe or not depends significantly on the storage conditions. Below are some factors that deteriorate the quality of your frozen cherries and make them unsafe for consumption:
- If you experience frequent and lengthy power cuts.
- If the storage area is unclean.
- If the expiration date of the cherries was looming before you froze them.
- If the frozen cherries develop mold or smell off.
How to Freeze Cherries?
Now that we have gone through the basics, we will check out the procedure for freezing cherries. There are a couple of different ways to freeze cherries, so you can choose the one that suits your preferences.
Step 1: Wash the cherries.
It is necessary to get all the dirt and dust off the cherries before freezing them. Several sources say that not washing the cherries can keep them fresh for a long time. However, freezing the cherries for 6-12 months is not the same as storing them in the refrigerator for a few days.
Step 2: Dry the cherries
Line the cherries onto a kitchen towel or tissue paper in a single layer and pat them until dry. The cherries should not have any moisture outside them before going into the freezer. Once you have patted them down, let them air dry for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Pit the cherries (or don’t)
This step is optional, but most sources will recommend you to pit your cherries. There are several fast pitting methods on the internet. Here’s why pitting the cherries is crucial. People often forget whether they have pitted their frozen cherries and chuck them into the blender directly. Besides, it is hard to pit the cherries once you thaw them because they are mushy. You will thank yourself for doing the job beforehand. Do not forget to remove the stems as you pit them.
Step 4: Chuck them into the freezer
This is not the last but the second-last step. Spread the cherries in a single layer onto a baking tray lined with paper, and place it into the freezer. Ensure that there is a decent distance between all the cherries so they can freeze completely. You may need several trays/plates for this step if you have a lot of cherries. Leave them in the freezer for a few hours. The cherries should be frozen solid when you take them out.
Step 5: Pack the cherries
Once your cherries turn rock hard in the freezer, place them into a freezer bag or an airtight container. Close the bag/container shut and put it back into the freezer for however long you want. They will last for a whole year, but if you vacuum-seal them, they can last for 2-3 years! Viola! You have successfully frozen your cherries. All you have to do now is ensure that the freezer stays clean and does not go out of power for a long time.
How to Thaw Frozen Cherries?
There are two ways to thaw frozen cherries. For the first method, transfer them from the freezer to the fridge and leave them for a few hours. If you want to speed the process, place the bag/container in a cold water bath.
An alternate method is quicker than the previous one, and it involves a microwave.
Step 1: Place them in a single layer on a microwave-safe tray lined with a towel. Make sure to leave some gaps between them.
Step 2: Put it in the microwave and defrost for 30 seconds. Repeat this process until they come to room temperature. However, ensure that they hold their shape and do not turn too soft.
Remember, thawed cherries are softer than fresh cherries. They will fall apart quickly, so handle them with care. On the other hand, if you want to use them for baking, there is no need to thaw them. Chuck them on top of your cake batter, and they will come out soft and sweet once your cake is ready.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can frozen cherries go bad?
Because cherries are an organic substance, they will go bad one day or another. Freezing them lengthens their shelf life. At most, frozen cherries will last for 2-3 years if you vacuum-seal them. Most people prefer to use them within one year after freezing them.
How can you tell if frozen cherries have spoiled?
Frozen cherries can spoil for several reasons, and it is easy to spot them. If you see too many frostbites on them, there is a chance that they have/are rotting. They will also take on a dull color with a lot of white ice accumulated on them. You may also notice a distinct, pungent smell after thawing them of they spoil.
Can you refreeze frozen cherries?
Yes, refreezing frozen cherries is a thing, but it is not recommended. Every time you freeze them, they lose some of their texture and become mushy. It is best to use them up after thawing by making jams and sauces out of them. However, if they have held onto their elasticity and firmness after thawing, you can refreeze them.
Cherries are the one fruit people can eat in any season because they can freeze them. Cherries look good as salad dressings and cake toppings. They are also the perfect ingredients for jams, ice creams, smoothies, and cocktails. If you have purchased too many cherries, it is best to freeze them for later use. They will lose their texture, but they retain that taste after thawing.