When shopping for sweet cherries, select plump, shiny cherries with green stems. Avoid cherries that are soft or have brown spots on them.
- Sweet cherries are a delicate fruit and should be handled carefully to avoid damage.
- Avoid purchasing shriveled or soft cherries. Cherries do not continue to ripen after they are picked.
- Avoid placing cherries in the sun or warm areas as they can become soft very easily.
- Refrigerate your cherries immediately after purchase. Cherries can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for several days.
- You can freeze fresh sweet cherries for future use. It’s best to pit them before freezing to easily incorporate into smoothies, baking or cooking needs, but you can also leave them whole. Whole cherries are best eaten before they are fully thawed (they are the most delicious with the best texture when they still have ice crystals on them).
Freezing Sweet Cherries
Work with small amounts (3 to 5 pounds) to allow for quick handling and freezing. Select firm, ripe cherries, rinse in cool water and drain them thoroughly. Use either of the following methods for freezing:
Method 1: Use whole cherries and do not remove the stems. Spread your cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet then place in your freezer. When completely firm, remove the cherries from the freezer and place into freezer-proof containers or plastic freezer bags; remove excess air, cover or fasten tightly and return to freezer.
Method 2: Use whole cherries with stems removed or pitted cherries. In a large bowl add 1/3 cup of sugar for each pint of cherries; toss lightly to coat cherries. Fill freezer proof containers or freezer bags; shake to pack fruit and continue to add cherries until full. Remove excess air, cover or fasten tightly and place into freezer.