It can be frustrating to try a new recipe and not understand how much of an ingredient to purchase at the store. Sometimes they give you a quantity of cherries in volume (2 cups), sometimes as a weight (4 ounces) and still others the cherries are given as a produce description (1 pound of fresh cherries). But what are they really talking about? How many cherries are in a pound? In order to help make cooking easier we did some experiments to help tell you exactly how many cherries you need to buy.
To answer How many cherries in a cup we went to the local market to check out the fruit section. There are several varieties, but only 2 categories of cherries: sour/tart (brighter red and a little smaller in size) and sweet (darker red to a purple color and slightly larger in size). Since the grocery store only carried sweet ones, we selected 1 pound of fresh sweet cherries for our how many cherries in a cup testing samples. After calling around, we were also able to track down 1 pound of fresh sour cherries for comparison.
The tart or sour ones are smaller and don't keep very well once they've been picked. These can rarely be found fresh in the local grocery store because they do not ship well; sometimes sour cherries can be found at a farmers' market. More often these are immediately processed into cans, frozen or dried. They are great when baked into pies, preserves and other desserts.
One pound of sour fresh stemless cherries with pits equals 2.5 to 3 cups or 80 cherries. Once you remove the pits, you're left with about 2.5 cups of sour cherries. You can squeeze 1.5 cups of cherry juice from 1 pound of sour cherries. Interested in making a cherry pie? You'll need about 4 to 5 cups or about 250 stemless cherries with pits to produce this pastry. A 21 ounce can of cherry pie filling will give you about 2.3 cups where a 16 ounce can of plain tart cherries in juice only about 2 cups.
Most of the fresh cherries we see in the grocery store are the sweet ones. These are also good for baking but they are also a luscious treat when you just pop them into your mouth raw! Like sour cherries, sweet cherries can also be frozen or canned.
One pound of sweet fresh stemless cherries with pits yields about 3 cups. Once you remove the pits, the larger size sweet cherries yield between 1.5 to 1.75 cups. One cup fresh, sweet Cherries weighs about 5 oz (140 grams).
Did you know that unlike other stone fruits, cherries do not ripen once picked off the tree? Always buy completely ripe cherries but be careful their shelf life is only about 4 days in the refrigerator. In addition to their wonderful fruit, the cherry tree is also known for its beautiful flowers.
Next time your recipe calls for a cup of pitted cherries you'll feel confident knowing what type and quantity you need. You can also use our conversion tool below for any custom how many cherries in a... measurements you need. If you are pitting a lot of fresh cherries by hand you should definitely look into getting a good cherry pitter. I would recommend theOXO Cherry Pitter. This handy gadget is inexpensive and will greatly speed up the process.
Here’s what we discovered about cherries.
Cherries are small 'stone' fruit, a member of the rose family and a relative of apricots, peaches, and plums. They're called 'stone' fruit (or drupes) because they contain a 'stone' in the center, which holds the seeds.
Cherry trees are quite challenging to grow and keep alive. It can take up to 4 years for it to produce its first fruit, and 7 years to reach full maturity. The average cherry tree yields 7000 cherries - that's enough to make a few cherry pies!
Although cherries are often just called "cherries" at the grocery store, there are more than 1,000 types of cherries. They can be divided into two main categories: sweet cherries and sour cherries.
Sweet cherries are a delicious snack on their own. The sour cherries are usually too tart for most people, so they're normally cooked in a tasty dessert.
Common Types of Sweet Cherries:
● Bing Cherries - most popular in this category. They have a dark red color and a sweet taste. They can be bought fresh, canned or frozen.
● Rainier Cherries - These have a very colorful yellow with red splotches appearance. Rainiers have a mild sweet flavor with a slight tart under taste. These are a bit harder to find at the grocery store.
● Chelan Cherries - Often called black cherries at the market. These cherries have a mild sweet taste.
Common Types of Sour Cherries:
● Montmorency Cherries - most popular sour ones, especially for cherry desserts like pies and cobblers. These are easily found frozen or canned, but really hard to run across fresh. They have a bright red color and a tart flavor
● English Morello Cherries - These medium tart tasting cherries have a deep reddish-black color and are also good for pies.
The well-known jar of maraschino cherries is made of sweet cherries that have been artificially colored bright red and preserved. They are often found topping ice cream sundaes or drinks. Maraschino cherries can also become little finger foods after soaking them in brandy.
Cherries are small, heart or globe shaped fruit, and are characterized by their color and flavor. Sweet cherries are normally larger in diameter than sour or tart ones.
Tart (or sour) cherries are used to bake and cook. They are versatile in that they can be dried, frozen, or pressed to preserve them and can thus be enjoyed all-year-round.
Sweet cherries are bought mainly for snacking purposes. Sweet cherries are hard to find out of season and their sweetness can range from mild to intense, depending on their growing area and the season.
Cherries are very nutritious and come packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Sweet cherries can spice up anything from salads to smoothies. They make a great fruit snack while watching TV.
Sour cherries are typically used to make cherry pie, but they can be used in savory dishes as well. You can even soak them in bourbon or moonshine and add them to your favorite cocktail. You'll be amazed at how versatile cherries are!
You can also replace fresh cherries with equivalent amounts of frozen and canned cherries. Other options are dried cherries, cherry preserves or jams, maraschino cherries, Amarena cherries, fresh sour cherries and depending on your recipe, even cherry liqueur might do the trick.
You can substitute fresh cherries with other stone fruits like fresh plums, apricots and nectarines.
Cherries contain sorbitol (a type of carbohydrate) that can produce gas when consumed. Cherries, like most other fruits, also contain fiber, which is difficult to digest.
If you usually get bloated after eating cherries, remember to chew them thoroughly before swallowing. Saliva is released when you chew your food, allowing the food to pass into the intestines easier.
Cherries should only be left out at room temperature if you’re going to eat them on the same day. Make sure your cherries are not placed in direct sunlight or warm areas, and be sure to check them for rot, as one bad cherry can ruin the whole batch.
To keep cherries fresher for longer (4 - 10 days), place them in one layer in an airtight, shallow container, without touching so they don’t bruise each other, and refrigerate. Don’t wash your cherries before refrigerating them, as moisture can soak in by the stem, and cause spoilage.
Yes, you can absolutely freeze cherries for later use and they can keep up to 6 months in the freezer.
Place the cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet so they don't touch. Freeze for a few hours, preferably overnight. Once frozen, place the cherries in an airtight container or freezer bag and back in the freezer until required.
Defrosted cherries will have a slightly different texture than fresh cherries, but they work just fine in most recipes.
Preserving cherries is a convenient way to always have cherries available when you need them. Plus, it only requires 3 ingredients: cherries, water and sugar. The most time-consuming part is pitting them, so it's a good idea to invest in a cherry pitter for this exercise!
Prepare your jars by sterilizing them; then clean, stem and pit your cherries. Bring 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water to a boil in a pot on the stove, stirring the syrup continuously.
Fill your jars halfway with hot syrup, then add enough cherries to fill the jars, topping up with more syrup. The cherries should be completely covered by syrup, leaving only a bit of space at the top.
Tap the jars to get all the air bubbles out, and close them up, making sure the rims are clean.
Put the jars in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, making sure they're completely covered by water. Remove and cool for around 12 hours; you'll know when they seal by the pinging noise they make.
An unopened can of cherries is generally good for 18 to 24 months - if properly stored. Once opened, the cherries should be covered, refrigerated and eaten within 2 to 4 days.
Drying cherries will not only make them last longer, but also concentrate their flavor and nutrients.
To dry them, place the cherries in a single layer on a baking tray in a 150o F (65 o C) oven. If your oven’s temperature doesn’t reach that low, you can use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door ajar, which will let in cold air, causing the temperature in the oven to drop.
It should take around 10 hours to dehydrate your cherries. Their skins should be completely dry, somewhat leathery, yet still pliable.
When properly stored, dried cherries last between six and twelve months at normal room temperature.
Check out what we discovered about cutting cherries.
Wash the cherries in a solution of three parts water and one part vinegar or plain water, if you don't have vinegar on hand. Rinse under cool running water. Remove the stems and pits.
Blend or process the cherries until smooth. You can continue adding a little bit of water to the puree until it reaches the desired consistency. If you don't want the puree too smooth, you can also use a fork or a potato masher instead of blending it.
Put the puree into an airtight container and set in the refrigerator. It should last for about 5 days.
You can also pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze solid. Remove from the trays once frozen and store in freezer bags or freezer containers for up to 3 months.
Wash the cherries in plain running water or if you prefer, use a solution of 3 parts water and 1-part vinegar and then rinse under cool running water. Remove the stems and pits.
Blend or process the cherries until liquefied. Add water to reach the desired consistency.
To make juice, it's recommended that you add 1/4 cup of water for every cup of cherries. Cherry juice will last 2-3 days in the fridge.
Cherries have a hard pit that houses the seed. Cherry pits or kernels release a chemical that your body converts to cyanide when the seed is broken apart..
A kernel swallowed by accident is unlikely to cause harm but chewing and swallowing multiple kernels can cause headaches, seizures, and difficulty breathing.
It’s a good idea to purchase a cherry pitter if you eat them frequently.
There are alternative ways to pit cherries if you don’t have a cherry pitter. You can push a straw, or even a chopstick, through the cherry, where the stem attaches to the cherry, until you can feel the kernel, then push it out.
Although eating them is not common practice, cherry stems actually are useful in other ways.
Even though experts from the medical and science communities don’t agree on the benefits of cherry stems, some believe they have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. Some folks enjoy drinking cherry stem tea and others even use them in a steeped mixture of herbs and spices to bath in.
Remove the stem and place the cherry on a cutting board. Cut with a paring knife around the pit until you have made a cut all the way around. Carefully twist the two sides in opposite directions and remove the pit with your fingers. The two cherry halves can now be cut into smaller pieces as required.
Sweet cherries are either eaten plain or as part of a fruit salad.
Tart cherries are used for baking pies, cobblers and cakes; they are excellent when cooked up as preserves or jams.
Discard any cherries with broken skin; refrigerate unwashed cherries in a bowl loosely covered with plastic wrap. Cherries are not prone to chill-injury and can be stored anywhere in the refrigerator, even its coolest areas. Cherries will last for 2 to 4 days.
You can freeze fresh cherries, but they should be pitted first, otherwise they will take on an almond flavor from the pit. All well-packaged cherries will last 10 to 12 months in the freezer at 0°F (-17.8°C).
You can either freeze whole, pitted sweet cherries in 40 percent syrup (4 cups water plus 3 cups sugar) with 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid (or citrus juice) added per quart of liquid, or without liquid in plastic bags with all the air removed. Some cooks prefer to freeze separated cherries on a cookie sheet and then pack in bags for freezing.
To freeze sour or tart cherries for pie filling, stir 3/4 cup of sugar into each quart of pitted, whole sour cherries. Pack in rigid airtight containers with 1/2 inch headspace or airtight bags.
One of the biggest hassles when cooking and working in the kitchen is when a recipe calls for "the juice of 1 lime" or a similar measurement. Often times when cooking people use bottled juices, pre-sliced vegetables and other convenient cooking time savers. Produce Converter will help you convert the "juice of 1 lime" and other similar recipe instructions into tablespoons, cups and other concrete measurements.
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