The Absolute Best Ways To Store Cherries

Cherries are sensitive fruits that are difficult to keep fresh, which is why, due to their short season, we don't have much time to enjoy them. According to NPR, that time is getting smaller, thanks to the sudden shift climate change has created between spring and summer. If cherry trees aren't diversified, scientists warn that there could be a future with no cherry season whatsoever.

To satisfy our cherry cravings and get the most out of the shrinking time that they're in season, it's important that we not only pick out the freshest cherries, but find the best ways to store them. By following through on the necessary precautions to keep our cherries fresh, we could live out our summer daydreams all year long. Whether we like to eat them one by one or baked into a cobbler or crisp, a few methods can help us make the most of the period in which they're available.

Use the original container

Perhaps the most common mistake one can make when storing cherries is doing exactly what you've always thought you were supposed to do with fruit: rinse, contain, and refrigerate. However, Oregon State University says that cherries can absorb water, which means rinsing might not be ideal. The best thing you can do to keep them fresh is, frankly, nothing. That's right, don't wash them — don't even take them out of their bag, and save the rinse for when you're right about to use them.

The one thing we should do is keep them in their original container and place them inside the fridge as soon as possible. James Michael, vice president of marketing for Northwest Cherry Growers, told Epicurious that cherries "lose more quality in an hour at room temperature than they do all day at refrigerator temperature." If you do want to shoot for maximum longevity, Peter Klein of Seedling Fruit recommends adding a layer of paper towels to the container to absorb moisture, which should help keep your cherries fresh for about a week.

Try putting them in the freezer

Hockaday Orchards also recommends that you freeze your cherries. There's no need to pit them, unless you wish; your cherries are fine if frozen whole with the pits inside, as long as you remember when it comes time to eat them. To freeze your cherries, all you need to do is rinse, dry, and spread the cherries on a baking sheet before you put them inside your freezer. After a couple of hours, they should be firm, at which point you can transfer them to a container or storage bag and put them back in the freezer, where Still Tasty says they'll maintain for as long as 12 months.

Not only do frozen cherries last a long time, but they'll maintain their juiciness. While they might not be the ideal texture to eat raw, frozen cherries are great for baking, using in pie fillings, and making jam. Keeping your cherries frozen is especially convenient and, if pitted, they can easily be used as a topping on ice cream (take this special Ben & Jerry's flavor as inspiration), oatmeal, acai bowls, or even thrown into your morning smoothie.