It's summer and you can welcome long hours of sunshine — and a plentiful bounty of sweet cherries. Fresh sweet cherries are one of the joys of the summer season. However, there are easy ways to preserve sweet cherries so that you'll always have some on hand for the rest of the year! In this article, we outline 4 fail proof storage methods for sweet cherries so you can stock up a good deal and use those jewels for tasty preserves and gift-giving too.
Each of the methods outlined below require distinct steps, some more tasking than others. However, you can rest assured that they are all tried and tested ways to keep your cherries all year round.
You can enjoy brandied cherries poured over cake and ice cream or simply munch on them and drink the cherry-infused brandy as an after-dinner cordial.
For convenience, pit the cherries first. Alternatively, you can process them in a water bath: raw pack pints & quarts for 25 minutes, and hot pack is 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts – adjust for altitude.
After pitting, process quarts of the cherries in extra light sugar syrup. Extra light is 1 1/4 cups of sugar to 5 1/2 cups of water. You could use a heavier syrup if you desire and voila, your homemade canned cherries are ready to be enjoyed!
All you have to do is just drain off the sugar syrup and eat the cherries straight from the jar all winter long.
Like any other frozen fruits and vegetables, frozen cherries can be used to make smoothies and fruit crisps.
Freezing the cherries on the tray first prevents them from being one giant lump that is hard to separate without thawing the entire container at once. This way, you can scoop out just what you need for a recipe and put the container back in the freezer for another time. These get used in smoothies and fruit crisps in our house.
This is one of the most common and easiest ways of storing sweet cherries. Fresh cherries are pitted and placed in a single layer on dehydrator trays and dried. However, they can take a long time to dry.
A trick learnt from a local cherry orchard owner: freeze the pitted cherries first for a day (longer is fine), then thaw the cherries completely in a colander in the sink, letting all that excess water drain off. Dry these thawed cherries in a single layer in the dehydrator. The drying process will go much faster after the water has been released from the freezing and thawing process.