Cherries lose quality quickly after picked, for maximum shelf life, keep cherries refrigerated at all times. For best quality, give them space so they do not bruise.
To extend the shelf life of cherries, do not wash the cherries until ready to eat or use (in other words, keep them dry). To store, discard any bruised or moldy cherries before refrigerating, Refrigerate cherries in a sealed container or plastic bag, unwashed. If you have room, it is suggested storing them in layers between paper or cloth towels. Properly stored, cherries will usually keep for about 4 to 10 days in the fridge.
Cherries should only be left out at room temperature if being eaten within the same day.
Bruised or soft cherries can still be processed and cooked. Discard cherries if mold appears or if the cherries have an off smell or appearance.
- Sour cherries fall off the stem when they're ripe enough to be harvested
- Sweet cherries should be tasted for maturity. Unlike other stone fruits, cherries will not continue to ripen once they've been picked
- Stem on or stem off? For immediate use or in salads or pies, picking without stems is fast and easy. If you plan to refrigerate them for more than a day or two, then pick with the stems to not break the skin of the cherry
- Cherries that are spoiling will typically become soft and mushy and their color will deteriorate
- Find local U-Pick Farms on this interactive map
- Wash, and pat dry.
- Pitting and stemming is recommended for convenience, but not required.
- Recommeded: Add 3/4 cup sugar to each quart of cherries and stir until sugar is dissolved
- Place in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
Properly stored, cherries will maintain best quality for about 10 to 12 months in the freezer, but will remain safe beyond that time. Cherries that have been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.