I recently finished a week of cherry overload after frantically picking the black cherry tree before the birds stripped it. When all else fails, the best way to deal with any fruit overload is to freeze it. I had no desire to follow standard freezing directions which require simple syrup. These sweet cherries were plenty sweet on their own. But I do like to have fruit in the freezer for smoothies, desserts, etc. throughout the year. This is the process I follow for almost all fruit:
- Wash and pit the cherries.
- Soak cherries in a bowl of water + Fruit Fresh® or water + lemon juice for at least 1/2 hour. *
- Drain cherries.
- Spread in a single layer on parchment lined baking sheets.
- Freeze until firm – usually overnight.
- Transfer frozen fruit to a zip-top freezer bag and return to freezer.
You might be tempted to skip step 4 and jump right to step 6, but you’ll regret it later! Freezing the cherries in a single layer means you can remove individual cherries at a later point, and not have to thaw a whole gallon at a time.
* I usually just eyeball the water + acid combination here, adding about 1/4 cup of lemon juice or 2 – 3 Tbsp Fruit Fresh® to about 2 cups of water.
If you are experiencing cherry overload you can also find my recipe for Chocolate Merlot Brownie Bites here. Yumm!