Cherries are an incredibly popular fruit – and for good reason. They are delicious and so versatile, but also beautiful.
Nothing beats the natural gloss of fresh cherries and the various colors they can come in.
However, if you are growing your own cherries, there can be a lot of questions surrounding the dos and don’ts.
You might wonder how you should store them, how to know if they are ripe, and also how to pick them properly!
This article will cover everything you need to know about it all.
By the end of it, you should have a good knowledge of picking cherries and everything associated with it.
So, if you love cherries as much as I do, keep reading!
How Do You Know When Cherries Are Ripe?
This will depend on whether you are growing sweet or sour cherries! In both cases, a ripe cherry should be able to get plucked from the stem easily, so that will be your first indicator.
However, you should also be aware of the color and size that your variety of cherries should be when they are ripe.
Colors can vary from beautiful burgundy colors to golden yellow!
So, know what to expect from your fruit, and you can use your eyes to determine if your cherries are approaching picking time.
Finally, if your cherries look like they are ripe, then you should give one a taste!
This will be the ultimate test, just to make sure that you are on the right track. Sweet cherries will be juicy and sugary, while sour cherries will have a distinct tartness to them.
If you are new to cherry farming, then you should make a point to taste ripe cherries of the variety that you are growing.
Only when you know what to expect, can you properly determine whether your particular cherries are ripe or not!
When Are Cherries Usually Picked?
This will depend on where you are! However, early summer is usually the peak season, so expect lots of fresh cherries between May and June!
This is not a universal experience, though, and it can differ from state to state.
You will need to consider various factors such as the climate and the type of cherry trees you are working with.
Things like the weather and sun will play an important role, so always have an understanding of what your trees need.
Where Can You Do Cherry Picking?
Lots of orchards have yearly events where they invite you to pick cherries!
Just search for cherry-picking events near you, and there should be plenty of opportunities that come up depending on where you are.
Not only are these events a great way to help out farms and communities, but they are great opportunities to make memories with friends and family.
It might be work, but you can have so much fun – especially when the weather is perfect.
How To Pick Cherries
There are a few super easy steps to picking cherries:
- Hold the cherry gently between your fingers and thumb
- Carefully pull the fruit – a ripe cherry will come off easily with the stem still attached. If the cherry doesn’t budge, leave it as it will need to ripen a little while longer
- You can work your way up until you are picking 5–5 cherries at once if you like! You could even use both hands to pick cherries quickly and become super efficient
- When you put the cherries in the fruit container, make sure that you do not pack them down or overfill containers. You don’t want to squash all those precious cherries!
Cherry Picking Tips
There are some useful tips about cherry picking that could save you a lot of trouble if you implement them from the get-go.
Take a look at some of these useful tips to keep in mind when you are out picking cherries:
- Make sure they are ripe – avoid picking under-ripe cherries as they will not ripen anymore once they get picked. Always try to pick cherries that are perfectly ripe, as these are the most delicious.
- Keep the stems intact – sweet cherries will last much longer if you leave the stem on the fruit! You learn something new every day, right?
- Pick the overripe cherries, too – never leave overripe cherries on the tree, as these will just attract birds and various pests. They can also lead to the trees getting diseased, so make sure you get all those overripe fruits, even if you cannot use them for anything.
- Keep them out of the sun – make sure that you keep the picked cherries in the shade, as you will have a very short window of time before they start to deteriorate. This is especially important if you live in a hot climate, as they will not last long!
Ways To Preserve Cherries Once They Have Been Picked
The best way to preserve cherries once you pick them is to keep them in the fridge! Since they are very perishable, they do not last very long when they are left out in hot conditions.
You might need a lot of space for all those cherries, though, so freezing could be a good idea, too.
Can You Freeze Cherries?
You can absolutely freeze cherries! Freezing them is super quick and easy, just follow these steps:
- Wash your cherries with cool water and dry them off
- Remove the pit and stems of the cherries
- Get a baking sheet and cover it with wax paper. Spread the cherries out on a single layer where they are not touching each other
- Put the baking sheet in the freezer overnight, so the cherries can freeze thoroughly
- In the morning, transfer the frozen cherries to a freezer-safe bag or container!
Picking cherries is so much easier than you might think. A ripe cherry will come right off the tree with the stem still attached, while an unripe one will not.
This is the easiest way to determine which fruits are ready to be picked if they look like they are ripe.
If you have never gone out cherry picking, I would highly recommend the experience. It’s a day full of fun, especially when you do it with friends and family.