Post Harvest Cherry Storage Tips – How To Handle Harvested Cherries

Post Harvest Cherry Storage Tips – How To Handle Harvested Cherries

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Proper harvesting and careful handling ensure that freshcherries retain their delicious flavor and firm, juicy texture as long aspossible. Are you wondering how to store cherries? Here are some tips onstoring and handling cherries after harvest.

How to Handle Harvested Cherries

Once harvested,fresh cherries must be cooled as soon as possible to slow down the ripeningprocess, as the quality will deteriorate quickly. Keep cherries in a shady spotuntil you can get them into the refrigerator or other cold storage.

Place the cherries in a sturdy plastic bag or container, butdon’t wash them yet because the moisture will speed the decaying process. Waitand rinse the cherries with cold water when you’re ready to eat them.

Keep in mind that although the color may change, the qualityof cherries doesn’t improve after harvest. Sweet cherries, such as Bing,stay fresh about two to three weeks in the refrigerator, and sour cherries,such as Montmorencyor Early Richmond, last about three to seven days. Both types may retain theirquality for several months in commercial cold storage.

Discard cherries soon if they’re soft, mushy, bruised ordiscolored. Get rid of them immediately if you notice mold where the stem wasattached.

You can also freeze cherries, and they’ll last six to eightmonths. Pit the cherries or leave them whole, then spread them on a cookiesheet, in a single layer. Once the cherries are frozen, place them in a bag orcontainer.

Ideal Temperatures for Post-Harvest Cherry Storage

Sweet cherries should be stored at 30 to 31 F.(approximately -1 C.). Storage for sour cherries should be slightly warmer,about 32 F. (0 C).

Relative humidity for both types of cherries should bebetween 90 and 95 percent; otherwise, the cherries are likely to dry out.

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Read more about Cherry Trees

Barbados Cherry: Tart Tropical Cherries You’ll Love

Barbados cherry, popularly known as acerola, is a small tree or a bushy shrub that produces glossy green leaves. The tree produces a small cherry fruit in vivid crimson color. Cherry malpighia trees are fairly uncommon outside warm climates, but are worth growing for their unusual fruit.

Acerola fruit is soft, succulent, and juicy with a sweet-tart cherry flavor. Extremely rich in vitamin C, this fruit can provide your daily requirement with ease.

Often grown for producing acerola juice or jam, these delicate fruits bruise easily. It’s because of this that you’re unlikely to find it in your local supermarket. But when growing it at home, you can ensure at least one source of this unique and unusual fruit for your enjoyment.

So let’s explore all of the best methods to grow and maintain this uniquely tropical tree!

Good Products For Growing Barbados Cherries:

If you've had your fill of fresh cherries, you can include the fresh fruit in a soon-to-be favorite recipe.

Brandied cherries can be used as an ice cream topping, ladled over pound cake, or try them for the liquid when cooking a pork tenderloin, beef brisket or chicken.

For a change of pace from regular pancakes, throw a handful or two into your regular batter. Almost any cherry variety works, but tart cherries give your pancakes a little more oomph. For a special treat, whip up a cherry puffy pancake, which tastes even better than it looks.

Tart cherries take center stage in a cherry cobbler, which you can enjoy as a dessert or as a snack. Tart cherries work better than sweet ones in this recipe, especially if you serve it ala mode.

Prepping the Cherries for Freezing

Start with ripe cherries. Rinse them and pat them dry. Working over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, wax paper, or foil, pit the cherries. If you have a pitter, use that. If not, use tweezers, a lobster picker, or an unbent paper clip to dig into the center of each cherry and pop out the pit. Alternately, you can cut the cherry in half, exposing and removing the pit. Arrange the pitted cherries in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Include any juice (which can amount to quite a lot). Use as many sheets as needed, as the key is to maintain a single layer so they freeze evenly and don't end up in clumps.

How to Care for Ground Cherries

One of the reasons I love growing ground cherries is that they’re fuss-free, considering they’re a fruit. You don’t have to cage or stake them unless you want. Some gardeners stake theirs to keep the branches off the ground.

Watering Needs

You don’t need to soak the plants, but make sure to give ground cherries at least 1-2 inches of water each week. Dry conditions won’t kill the plants, but they’ll wilt and stop fruiting. These plants are notorious for their massive yields, but they’ll stop producing when facing drought.


You can fertilize ground cherries the same way that you fertilize tomato plants. They do prefer acid and composted manures. The ideal soil pH level is 6.0-6.8. Make sure you don’t add too much nitrogen because it can cause fruit production to dramatically decrease.


Adding some mulch around your ground cherries is helpful. You can use straw or grass clippings. Both help to maintain proper soil moisture, and they’ll make it easier to collect fallen ground cherries.

Mulching also helps to suppress the weeds, which can reduce air circulation in your garden. Weeds can also compete for the water in the soil.

  • Add cherries to a fruit salad to add color, flavor and variety.
  • Poached cherries make an excellent topping for low fat ice cream or low fat frozen yogurt.
  • Dried cherries add sweetness to oatmeal or trail mix.

Fresh Northwest Cherry Salsa
Makes 4 servings, each serving equals one 5 A Day serving.
Source: Produce for Better Health

2 cups pitted fresh or frozen sweet cherries
1/3 cup Basil, fresh, chopped
1/3 cup Green peppers, finely chopped
2 tsp Lemon juice
1/2 tsp Each of: Worcestershire sauce and grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp Salt
Dash of bottled hot pepper sauce
Chop cherries in food processor or manually. Combine all ingredients mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 124, Total Fat 0g, Calories from Fat 2%, Protein 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 5g, Sodium 168 mg.

Grilled Salmon Cherry Sauce
Makes 6 servings, each servings equals one 5 A Day serving.
Source: Northwest Cherry Growers


3 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp freshly grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
In large saucepan, combine all ingredients bring to a boil over medium-high hear. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Great served over grilled salmon.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 172, Total Fat 1g, Calories from Fat 5%, Carbohydrates 36g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 4g, Sodium 370mg, Protein 2g.

Cherry and Smoked Turkey Salad
Makes 4 servings, each serving equals two 5 A Day servings.
Source: Northwest Cherry Growers

12 ounces smoked turkey, sliced
2 cups Northwest fresh sweet cherries, pitted
1 mango,* pared and sliced
1 kiwi fruit, sliced
1 cup Napa cabbage, shredded
Spicy Dressing
Arrange turkey, cherries, mango and kiwi fruit on shredded Napa cabbage. Drizzle Spicy Dressing over salad.

Spicy Dressing: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 clove crushed garlic until hot but not smoking cool and remove garlic. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon each honey and hot dry mustard** and ВЅ tsp each ground ginger and salt mix well. Makes about 1/3 cup.


*One large nectarine may be substituted for mango.
**One tablespoon of your favorite mustard may be substituted.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 292, Total Fat 7g, Calories from Fat 20%, Carbohydrates 42g, Protein 19g, Cholesterol 49mg, Fiber 4g, Sodium 668mg.

Cherry Pepper Salad
Makes 4 servings, each serving equals three 5 A Day servings.
Source: Northwest Cherry Growers

1 cup Northwest fresh sweet cherries, pitted
1 cup each thinly sliced sweet yellow and green peppers
1/4 cup thinly sliced mild chili pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp pickled ginger strips, optional
4 cups mixed greens
Toss together all ingredients except greens refrigerate 1 hour or longer. Serve on mixed greens.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 127, Total Fat 4g, Calories from Fat 27%, Carbohydrates 0g, Protein 3g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 541mg.

Southwestern Style Cherry Slaw
Makes 6 servings, each serving equals four 5 A Day servings. Source: Northwest Cherry Growers.


4 cups shredded green cabbage
3 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved
2 cups torn fresh spinach leaves
1 cup shredded jicama
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup diced red onion

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp frozen lime juice concentrate, thawed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp lime zest
1/4 tsp each chili powder, ground cumin and salt
In large serving bowl, combine ingredients for Slaw. In small saucepan, combine Dressing ingredients heat to boil. Pour over salad and toss gently to coat.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 158, Total Fat 6g, Calories from Fat 29%, Carbohydrates 27g, Protein 6g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 126mg.