Can you freeze cherries?
In this brief guide we’ll be answering the question, “can you freeze cherries?” We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of freezing cherries, how to properly freeze cherries, how to safely defrost them and if frozen cherries go bad.
Can you freeze cherries?
Yes, you can freeze cherries. Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve cherries and their freshness for a longer duration (1).
The shelf life of cherries in the freezer is up to 1 year if you are putting them in air-sealed containers. To store them for a longer duration, put them in the freezer (1).
What are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing cherries?
Freezing cherries has numerous benefits. Firstly, it helps preserve their nutritional value by retaining vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vitamins such as vitamin C and certain B vitamins are relatively stable during freezing and can remain largely intact (2).
Minerals like potassium and dietary fiber are also retained, and antioxidants like anthocyanins, which contribute to the vibrant color of cherries, can be preserved to a significant extent through freezing (3). Moreover, freezing extends cherries’ shelf life, enabling enjoyment of cherries throughout the year.
When freezing cherries there are a few drawbacks you should consider. Freezing may result in a slight texture change, as cherries tend to soften and become juicier upon thawing (4).
Additionally, the freezing process can cause subtle alterations in flavor, leading to a slight reduction in the fresh, vibrant taste of fresh cherries. Also keep in mind that cherries with pits can be challenging to consume directly after freezing, thus it is advisable to pit them before freezing (4).
How to properly freeze cherries?
To properly freeze cherries you can follow the instructions below (1,5,6):
- Pick ripe, fresh cherries first, making sure they are unblemished and undamaged.
- Wash them carefully in cold running water and dry them with a fresh cloth. If preferred, you can use a cherry pitter or hand remove the pits by delicately slicing the cherries in half.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer and allow the cherries to freeze completely for a few hours or overnight.
- The cherries should totally freeze for many hours or overnight if you place the baking sheet in the freezer.
- When the cherries are frozen, move them into airtight freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags, taking care to remove any extra air to avoid freezer burn.
- Put the containers in the freezer and give them a date on the label. Cherries that are properly frozen may normally keep their quality for up to 12 months.
How to safely defrost frozen cherries?
To safely defrost frozen cherries, it is best to use the refrigerator method. The frozen cherries should be placed in a sealed bag or container and placed in the refrigerator to gently defrost over time, preferably overnight. While reducing the possibility of bacterial development, this progressive thawing procedure helps retain the texture and freshness of the cherries (7).
Cherries shouldn’t be defrosted at room temperature for long periods of time since doing so might encourage the growth of dangerous microorganisms.
You can utilize the cold water bath method to fast defrost cherries by putting the sealed bag of cherries in a basin of cold water and changing the water every 30 minutes until defrosted (7).
Do frozen cherries go bad?
Normally, frozen cherries have a long shelf life and do not go bad like fresh cherries do if stored properly, but over time, they may experience changes in texture, flavor and quality (1,6).
Cherries that have been frozen for a long time may have freezer burn, which can result in dryness and taste loss but it is still safe to consume. It’s crucial to store frozen cherries in airtight containers or bags, eliminating extra air to avoid freezer burn, in order to limit these alterations (6).
Frozen cherries that are kept properly can keep their quality for up to 1 year. However, it is advised to eat them within a few months of freezing for the best flavor and texture (1).
In this brief guide we answered the question, “can you freeze cherries?” We also discussed the benefits and drawbacks of freezing cherries, how to properly freeze cherries, how to safely defrost them and if frozen cherries go bad.
1. Silva, C.L.M. Home Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables. In book: Frozen food science and technology, 2008.
2. Li, L. et al. Selected nutrient analyses of fresh, fresh-stored, and frozen fruits and vegetables. J Food Composition and Analysis, 2017, 59, 8-17.
3. Leong, S.Y.,Oey, I. Effects of processing on anthocyanins, carotenoids and vitamin C in summer fruits and vegetables. Food Chemistry, 2012, 133, 1577-1587.
4. Van Der Sman, R.G.M. Impact of Processing Factors on Quality of Frozen Vegetables and Fruits. Food Eng Rev., 2020, 12, 399–420.
5. Zander, A., Bunning, M. Guide to Washing Fresh Produce. Colorado State University, 2010.
6. Freezing and Food Safety. USDA, 2013
7. The Big Thaw – Safe Defrosting Methods. USDA, 2013