If you brought home farm-fresh cherries home or if you’ve bought plenty of them, you might be wondering how long will those cherries last. Well, you’re at the right place.
In this post, we’ll not only share the shelf life of these delicious fruits with you, but also discuss on some excellent tips to tell if the cherries have gone bad and how to store them properly.
Do cherries go bad?
Fruits are perishable, and cherries are no exception. It goes bad, and if not stored properly, it goes bad rapidly. So, if you’ve stocked up on cherries, you must know how long they last and most importantly, how you can store them for longer.
Fresh cherries are absolute bliss to your tastebuds. But there are many other ways you can store cherries for longer and enjoy them even after a year.
If you freeze them, the freshness remains for up to a year. And if you dry or can the cherries, you will get to enjoy an even stronger flavor of cherries all year round.
How long do cherries last?
Cherries are highly perishable and go bad in about 2 weeks or lesser even when refrigerated. If you store it at room temperature, even 2-3 days of storage might result in mold development if not stored properly.
If you wash the cherries and leave them on the countertop, the increased moisture content might result in mold development and spoilage much earlier.
Moreover, by storing the cherries in hot places of your pantry or in areas where direct sunlight hits the cherries, the spoilage process might accelerate.
Nevertheless, there are many long-term cherry storage options available for you. You can freeze your cherries and save them for up to a year. If you love the flavor burst of dried cherries, drying the cherries is also a great option for long term storage as dried cherries last for about 6-12 months.
Finally, if you want to store your cherries for the longest time, you should definitely can them. After canning the cherries, the cans are sterilized properly, which ensures the longevity of the cherries.
Moreover, sugar syrup used for canning the cherries also acts as an excellent preservative. Once opened, canned cherries should be refrigerated and should be consumed within 5-7 days.
|At room temperature||In the refrigerator||In the freezer||Dried cherries||Canned cherries (Unopened)||Canned cherries (Opened and refrigerated)|
|Cherries||2-3 days||1-2 weeks||1 year||6-12 months||1-2 years||
4 Tips to Tell if cherries have Gone Bad
There are various ways to tell if the cherries stored in your pantry or the refrigerator have gone bad. You don’t need to taste the cherries to find out, as these physical indications are enough to throw the cherries out.
1. Texture, color, and leakiness:
Fresh and top-quality cherries are shiny, plump, and firm. So, if your cherries are soft and mushy to touch or if juices are leaking out of them, they have gone bad. Wrinkled cherries might also not be fresh enough for you to eat.
Moreover, notice if the cherries are discolored. The presence of noticeable changes indicates that the cherries have lost their freshness and might possibly have gone bad.
2. Mold growth:
If you notice white or black colored mold spots in the cherries, you shouldn’t eat them. Often, the stem should be the first place you should check for mold growth.
3. Off smell:
Sour or fermented smells from cherries indicate that the spoilage has begun. Or, if you notice any off or unpleasant smell coming from the cherries, you should definitely trash them right away.
If you sniff moldy cherries too close, you might end up sniffing molds, which might cause allergic or respiratory problems. So, make sure you sniff the cherries from a safe distance.
4. Check for maggots:
You should be mindful of this tip, even if you’ve just brought fresh cherries home. Make sure to check a few cherries for white worms inside. If there happens to be any, make sure to rip apart and check each cherry before you eat or store them.
6 Tips to Store cherries
Throwing away a bagful of bad cherries might be really painful. To save you from such situations, we’ve gathered some excellent cherry storage tips for you.
1. Do not wash the cherries unless you’re ready to eat them:
Molds and spoilage bacteria love moisture. So, if you don’t plan on eating the cherries right away, don’t wash them either.
2. Remove bad cherries beforehand:
Before storing the cherries, make sure to filter bad ones out. Moldy cherries might introduce more contaminants and moisture to the entire batch and end up ruining it. So, before you prepare the cherries for storage, always remove the bad cherries.
3. Store the cherries in the refrigerator:
Cherries love chilling temperature. Refrigeration is the key to keeping your cherries fresh for long. If you leave the cherries at room temperature, cherries tend to lose quality rapidly. Thus, if you want to enjoy your cherries for longer, wrap them in a plastic bag and pop them into the refrigerator.
4. Dry the cherries:
Drying cherries can be a really good storage option if you have bought plenty of cherries or brought a bagful of them straight from the farm. Drying cherries doesn’t require much hard work either.
Wash the cherries thoroughly. If you want to grab a handful of dried cherries and eat them without disturbance, remove the stems and seeds before you dry them.
If it doesn’t bother you, you can dry the cherries without removing stems and seeds. Finally, layer the cherries in a tray and dry them in the sun, an oven, or a dehydrator.
If you want your dried cherries to be moist, you can soak them in sugar syrup overnight before drying them.
5. Can the cherries:
An excellent way of preserving cherries is to can the cherries. Sugar syrup is most commonly used for preserving cherries as sugar acts as an excellent preservative. Unopened canned cherries can last you for a year or two.
Removal of the stems and seeds of the cherries before preserving them might prove to be a very thoughtful idea since doing so will allow you to store more cherries in a jar. Always follow a proper canning guide if you’re planning on canning cherries on your own.
The only downside of preserving cherries this way is that the cherries might end up being too sweet if you preserve them in sugar syrup. However, if you have a sweet tooth, this method of storage might be the best one for you.
6. Freeze the cherries:
Freezing the cherries is another excellent method for long-term storage. Frozen cherries are excellent for making smoothies or for sprinkling some in your baking recipes.
Moreover, freezing the cherries doesn’t alter their flavor and quality for up to a year. So, if you plan on storing the cherries for really long, freezing can be one of the best options for you.
The Risk of Consuming Expired cherries
Consuming any expired food comes with a risk. In the case of cherries, the risk is even higher as they are highly perishable. You can safely consume frozen, dried, or canned cherries for a relatively long time, even past their use-by date.
However, if you notice any signs of spoilage, you should absolutely steer clear of them. Spoilage bacteria release many toxins and, thus, might make you sick.
Likewise, moldy cherries are no different. Molds produce a specific type of toxin called mycotoxin.
These toxins are known to cause various respiratory issues and allergic reactions in some individuals. So, if you see any mold spots in the cherries or if the smell is moldy, throw them away.
Can you freeze cherries?
Frozen cherries can last you up to a year. If you love having smoothies, add some frozen cherries to the recipe, blended or unblended, and you’ll discover its magic.
What’s more, freezing cherries is incredibly easy. Wash the cherries thoroughly and remove stems and seeds beforehand, such that you can directly add frozen cherries to the recipes. Once the cherries are dry, spread them onto a tray and freeze them for a few hours or overnight.
Collect the frozen cherries in an airtight freezer container or a zip-loc and store them in the freezer. You can also submerge the cherries in thick sugar syrup and freeze them.
The next method of freezing the cherries is even easier. You can simply coat the cherries with powdered sugar and then freeze them. Adding sugar to the cherries before freezing them will help cherries last even longer.
If you follow a proper storage method, cherries might last you an entire season. Or, if you love fresh cherries, refrigerate them and finish the batch within a week. Thus, storage should never be a limitation for you to enjoy cherries as they taste heavenly either way!