Enjoy Sweet Cherries Longer

(NC)—You don’t have just the summer season to enjoy the sweet, juicy goodness of Northwest cherries. Simple preservation will have you enjoying them all year long.

1. Freeze Your Cherries

Freeze pitted Northwest cherries for the best flavour. Work with small amounts, 3 lbs to 5 lbs (1.5 to 2.5 kg) of fresh sweet cherries at a time to allow for quick handling and freezing. Select firm, ripe sweet cherries. Rinse and drain cherries thoroughly. Pack according to preferred method below and freeze immediately. Method 1: Whole with stems. Spread  cherries with stems intact in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm. Pack into freezer-proof containers or plastic freezer bags; remove excess air, cover or fasten tightly and

freeze. Frozen cherries will last 10 to 12 months in the freezer.

Method 2: Dry Sugar Pack. Add  1/3 cup (75mL) sugar for each pint of pitted or unpitted fresh sweet cherries; toss lightly to coat cherries. Fill freezer containers or bags; shake to pack fruit. Add more cherries to fill containers or bags. Cover tightly and freeze.

2. Enjoy Canned Cherries

Unopened canned cherries have a shelf life up to one year. Once open, canned cherries should be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator and used within a week. Maraschino cherries (the kind you find adorning beverages) will last six to 12 months in the refrigerator.

3. Dry Your Cherries

Packaged dried cherries will last up to 18 months. Dry them at home for an easy and inexpensive way to enjoy their flavour in recipes all year.

Learn more about at-home  cherry preservation methods at sweetpreservation.com.