10 Ways to Preserve Cherries

published Jun 8, 2012
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When 30 pounds of sweet

Washington Bings

cherry pies for family, friends, and neighbors, I had many, many pounds left and so I got to work preserving the bounty. It was a great learning experience and now that I have spent a year tasting the results, I’m happy to share these 10 terrific ways to preserve cherries…

Frozen cherries

Cherries freeze really well, and you can use them throughout the year in smoothies, cobblers, and more (my personal favorite is snacking on them straight from the freezer). For a quick and easy freezing procedure, see
How To Choose and Store Cherries. You can also pack them in syrup; instructions are available at the

Dried cherries

Dried cherries are wonderful in
dehydrator is handy but as we’ve shared here on The Kitchn, Yes, You Can Dry Fruit in the Oven! For additional tips, check out the
Drying Fruits information from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.

Cherry jam

Many people prefer
sour cherries for jam. However, sweet cherries also make lovely preserves, and you can give them some extra dimension by stirring in a splash of Balsamic vinegar and a crack of black pepper at the end of cooking. For canning, I used a recipe from
Ball. For a more free-form refrigerator jam,
David Lebovitz has a nice recipe.

Pickled cherries

Sweet and sour pickled cherries were one of my favorite discoveries last year, and I loved serving them as an accompaniment to cheese. I tried several recipes and loved
Michael Symon’s combination of spices like orange zest, peppercorns, cinnamon, and coriander. Chef Symon also recommends serving the cherries with poultry and pork.

Whole canned cherries

This is actually the one method I haven’t tried yet because I always assumed canned fruit had to be packed in overly sweet syrup. After learning how to can mandarin oranges in very light syrup and fruit juice this year – with great results – I plan to do with same with cherries. Safe canning procedures are available at the
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Maraschino cherries

My partner is allergic to alcohol, so I tried Nick Mautone’s recipe for
No-Booze Maraschino Cherries. They were a big hit, and we enjoyed them in sodas and ice cream sundaes for months. If you prefer a boozy version, check out The Kitchn’s review of

Cherry vinegar

Any kind of vinegar may be flavored with cherries, and I found that even inexpensive Balsamic tasted outstanding after several months (I gave out bottles as Christmas gifts). Check out Dana’s post on
Improvisational Cherry Vinegar and Clemson Cooperative Extension’s information on

Cherry shrub

Back in January, I unearthed a bottle of red wine vinegar and cherry
shrub from the back of the fridge. Sipping on this tart and sweet drink transported me straight to summer, and I can’t wait to make more this year. I’ll be sharing a different shrub method on The Kitchn soon, but last year I used the Serious Eats
cold brew process and it worked quite well.

Cherry bounce

After reading about cherry bounce at
Food in Jars, I went on a bounce extravaganza, researching historical and modern-day recipes for this liqueur. (Martha Washington even wrote about cherry bounce in her diary.) My favorite version ended up being a 1966 recipe from
Gourmet, which contains brandy, rum, mace, and allspice. Perfect for sipping on winter evenings.

Boozy cherries

Boozy cherries make a fine garnish for cocktails and ice cream – and you wind up with cherry-infused liqueur, too. I especially enjoyed bourbon-soaked cherries, using this simple method from
Food Woolf. For more cherry and liquor combinations, see

Do you have any other ideas to add?

(Images: Emily Ho)