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Pit cherries before freezing them?

I bought a big bag and heat treated them in a hot water bath for longer shelf life. If I don't find a use for them in a day or two, I'm going to freeze them. Is there any advantage to pitting them before freezing or are they easier to freeze intact and pitted later?

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  1. Pit first. They are mushy and harder to handle after thawing. Pit over a pot, add water and simmer the pits which will loosen the remaining pulp and impart an almond flavor to the juice, which can be reduced and incorporated in other dishes.

    3 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Great suggestion! How long do I simmer it and how long will the pit juice last in the fridge? Can i use it like a cherry-almond extract?

      1. re: icecone

        You don't have to cook the cherries before freezing. Just pit them, put them in a container you can seal (plastic freezer boxes or plastic margarine tubs) and freeze them, voila. I guarantee the method; we have frozen hundreds of pounds of cherries in this way. When cherries are thawed they won't be like fresh cherries because cell walls in fruit are broken down by ice crystals, was the way I heard it explained. But they will be fine for pies or for our favorite use, a hot cherry sauce for waffles or pancakes or French toast (just bring cherries to a boil with a little sugar and thicken with a little cornstarch dissolved in cold water). Also, don't waste money on a cherry pitting gadget---a serrated paring knife is faster. But wear something awful as cherry juice will spatter and is the kiss of death to any garment.

        1. re: icecone

          Too many variables for timing. Just keep tasting. Freeze if not using within 3-4 days,

      2. You know I think I remember Mark Peel on the radio saying to freeze them with the pits in.

        3 Replies
        1. re: rezpeni

          What was the reason for leaving in the pits?

          1. re: icecone

            If I remember correctly he said they held up better to freezing with the pits in.

            1. re: rezpeni

              I can see what he's getting at IF he plans to use the thawed cherries in clafouti without pitting them, because they'll retain their round shape. Though I know some cooks don't pit cherries for clafouti, compote, and even pie, most people pit them first and pitting a thawed cherry will be mushy, messy work, with even more dripping than when pitting fresh.

        2. I've done it both ways. Pitting is messy no matter when you do it. This year, I had so many cherries that I froze most of them with the pits in, opting to do the pitting in small batches when I thaw them.

          On advantage of pitting them after freezing is that because they're so soft, I just use my fingers rather than messing with the cherry pitter. It's actually less messy than using the pitter because the juice doesn't spray around the way it can with the pitter.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

            Do they take on an odd taste? Do they taste different when they though if u leave the pits in them. My husband picked up 2 cases of bing cherries for $30 from his work. I am going to freeze most of them for smoothies, baking, and other things. Any advice will be helpful. I have never frozen cherries before.

            1. re: cscrivner2006

              Interesting question. I've never done a side-by-side comparison myself. If you haven't frozen yours yet, I suggest freezing some with pits and some without. Then come back and tell us what you think!

          2. I'm in the pit first camp. I like to take care of all that work so when I need some all the work has been done.

            Another thing you can do is to lay the cherries out on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight. The next morning just dump frozen cheeries into a Ziploc freezer bag.

            1. Update: I decided to pit them before freezing. The implement was the pointy end of a baster (with the rubber bulb removed). The pits went flying into a sink full of water. I threw out the seeds rather than recover them for a flavor extraction. It was messy, but my clothes were unscathed. It's not an experience I plan to repeat this summer.

              There isn't room in my freezer to freeze the cherries individually on a cooking sheet. I put them in a ziplock bag, lay the bag flat with the cherries in a single layer and froze them. They seem to have frozen very loosely and mostly separately, so I should be able to take out close to the exact amount I will need for a recipe with defrosting.