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When Are Cherries in Season?

By Chris Pagnani

March 11, 2024

Here in the US, cherries are in season from May through July, which means you’ll enjoy the most flavorful fruit when you buy in late spring and summer. As you might expect, cherry sales tend to peak in tandem with seasonality, with the most cherries being sold between May and August, according to “science” (i.e. Fetch receipt data).

If you have a recipe that calls for fresh cherries out of season, you’ll be happy to know that prices increase only slightly during the off season, so buying cherries in the winter months still won’t break the bank.

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Where Do Cherries Grow?

90% of sweet cherries (used for preserves, cakes, and sauces) grown in the US come from California, Oregon, and Washington, while nearly 75% of our country’s tart cherries (used for cherry pie) are grown in Michigan.

Do Cherries Grow on Trees or Bushes?

Both actually: cherries can grow on trees and bushes, although cherry bushes tend to produce fruit earlier than cherry trees. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about all the waiting around, as you’re likely just looking to find the freshest cherries at your neighborhood grocery store and probably aren’t planning to start your own cherry orchard.

Information about seasonality of cherries

How Long Do Cherries Last?

When stored on the counter in your kitchen, cherries can last up to 4 days; if you store your cherries in the refrigerator, they will keep for up to 7 days. One way to ensure you get the full lifespan out of your cherries is to wait to wash them until you are ready to eat them, as introducing water will start to accelerate the spoiling process.

If you’re not planning to consume your cherries anytime soon, you can store them in the freezer, where they will keep for up to 12 months.

How to Pick Ripe Cherries at the Grocery Store

Few things are more disappointing after picking out fruit at the grocery store than taking your first bite at home a day or two later only to find the produce you picked was a total dud. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure you know what to look for when shopping for cherries at the supermarket.

Here are some tips for picking out the best cherries at the grocery store:

  • Pay attention to the color of both the cherries and their stems: If after the freshest fruit, you’ll want to look for cherries with dark, vibrant coloring and bright green stems
  • Size and weight matter when picking cherries: You’re going to want large, firm cherries, as these traits are indicative of freshness. 

Tips on picking ripe cherries

How to Pit Cherries Like a Pro

If you don’t own a cherry pitter, there are several different ways to efficiently pit cherries, and the method you select will simply depend on which of the following utensils you happen to have handy.

To pit a cherry with a metal straw:

  1. Remove the stem.
  2. Line up the metal straw with the stem end of the cherry.
  3. Push the straw through the cherry until the pit is forced out of the bottom end.

To pit a cherry with a knife:

  1. Remove the stem.
  2. Place the cherry on a cutting board.
  3. Using the flat side of a large knife, press down firmly yet gently until you feel the cherry first start to give, which is how you know the pit has been loosened inside.
  4. Then use the knife to make a cut from top to bottom of the cherry to expose the pit.
  5. Remove the pit with your hands.

To pit a cherry with your hands (if you don’t mind making a bit of a mess and squishing your cherries):

  1. Use one hand to hold the cherry by the stem.
  2. With your other hand, gently squeeze the cherry until the pit pops out.

How to Store Cherries & Make Them Last Longer

Unless you’re planning to eat your store-bought cherries in the very near future, as in today or tomorrow (in which case, they’re fine kept on the counter), you’ll want to keep your cherries cool and dry, as this will help preserve their freshness.

To properly store your cherries in the fridge:

  1. Do not wash your cherries before storing in the refrigerator (remember, water will start to accelerate the process of them going bad); you can wash the cherries when you’re ready to actually eat them.
  2. Remove any blemished or otherwise suspect-looking cherries from the bunch.
  3. Arrange your cherries in a single layer in an uncovered bowl or container.
  4. Place the uncovered container in the refrigerator; your refrigerated cherries will last for up to 7 days.

To properly freeze your cherries:

  1. Wash your cherries in a cold rinse or using a fruit/veggie spray.
  2. Pat the cherries dry.
  3. Remove the stems.
  4. Pit the cherries (optional); if there’s a chance you will use your frozen cherries right out of the freezer without thawing (like in a smoothie), you’ll want to pit your cherries before freezing them.
  5. Arrange cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and place the baking sheet in the freezer.
  6. Once the cherries have frozen (this may take up to 12 hours), remove the baking sheet from the freezer, and transfer the frozen cherries to a freezer-safe bag; your frozen cherries will keep for up to 12 months.

Tips for storing cherries

Can Dogs Eat Cherries?

While the flesh of a cherry (one that’s fresh and has been washed) is safe for your dog to eat, the pit, stem, and leaves all have cyanide in them, which is toxic to dogs. If you wash the cherries, remove the leaves and stems, and pit them, your dog can eat cherries, although only in small amounts; it’s worth noting, too, that this only applies to fresh cherries, and you should never feed your dog dried cherries, maraschino cherries, or any kind of cherry that’s been soaked in syrup.

While cherries do have good nutrients in them, including Vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants, cherries also have high sugar content, which could upset your pup if it has a sensitive stomach. For this same reason, you should not feed cherries to your dog if it is obese or has diabetes.

Ultimately, there are lots of other snacks your dog can safely eat that don’t carry with them the same types of risks, so it’s probably a good idea to stick to those and skip the cherries altogether.

Can Cats Eat Cherries?

Similarly, certain parts of cherries (namely the leaves, stem, and pit) are toxic to cats, so we do not recommend feeding cherries to your cat as a treat.

Easy Cherry Recipes You’ll Love

While ripe cherries are excellent on their own for snacking, they can also be the star ingredient of a number of simple recipes. Here are just a few of our favorite easy-to-make cherry recipes.

How to Make Maraschino Cherries

If you’re someone who enjoys whipping up their own cocktails at home, you’ll want to have some maraschino cherries on hand. Thankfully, it’s easy to make them right at home with this recipe:


  • ¾ pound fresh cherries
  • 1 cup cherry liqueur
  • 3 tablespoons tart cherry juice
  • ¼ cup sugar


  1. Wash and pit the cherries. Either pit vertically to remove the stem or pit horizontally to keep the stem intact.
  2. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine the cherry liqueur, sugar and tart cherry juice. Stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it just begins to simmer, remove from the heat.
  3. Add the cherries and let cool to room temperature before storing the cherries and the juice in a lidded jar in the refrigerator.

How to Make a Cherry Bomb

If you’ve never had a cherry bomb before, it’s a refreshing rum-based cocktail that takes next to no time to prepare and is perfect for any occasion. Here’s a recipe for an easy-to-make at-home cherry bomb:


  • 1 liter lime soda
  • 4 fluid ounces rum
  • 4 fluid ounces grenadine syrup
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 4 maraschino cherries


  1. Stir together lime soda, rum, grenadine, and lime juice in a mixing glass. Pour into 4 chilled glasses. Garnish with lime slices and cherries. That’s it – one step, and you’re done!

How to Make Cherry Jam

Putting together a charcuterie for a party you’re hosting? If so, this cherry jam recipe will be a welcome addition and pairs well with many different cheeses, including Aged Manchego and fresh burrata.


  • 750 g cherries
  • 500 g granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced


  1. Wash and pit all the cherries and cut three quarters of them in half, leaving the other quarter whole.
  2. Put in a preserving pan (or large deep pan) along with the lemon juice and set over a low heat.
  3. Use a potato masher to lightly crush the cherries and simmer gently until cooked (about 7 minutes).
  4. Add the sugar and heat through on very low until all the sugar has dissolved (running a wooden spoon around the pan will help you know as the sugar will scratch if still solid).
  5. Bring to a rolling boil and time for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and drizzle a few drops of jam onto a chilled saucer.
  7. Place the saucer in the fridge for a minute and then run your finger through the jam, it’s ready if it forms a crinkle and is tacky.
  8. If not quite ready, boil for another couple of minutes at a time and re-test.
  9. Once ready, ladle into hot jars and place lids on immediately.
  10. Allow to cool, then store in a cool dark place (will keep for years but best eaten in first year). Store in the fridge once open.

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Topics: Food and Drink, Shopping Lists


Chris Pagnani

Chris Pagnani is a writer, SEO, coffee snob, and obsessive record collector here at Fetch. In his past life, he taught high school English before leaving education behind to spend several years touring around the country playing drums in a band.