Chokecherries All Year Round: A Complete Freezing Guide

Chokecherries are small, tart berries that grow on shrubs native to North America. These berries are often used in a variety of culinary applications, including jams, jellies, pies, and beverages. If you have an abundance of chokecherries and you’re wondering how to preserve them for later use, freezing may be an excellent option. Freezing chokecherries allows you to enjoy their unique flavor and nutritional benefits throughout the year. In this article, we will explore the process of freezing chokecherries, along with some helpful tips and guidelines.

Key Facts

  1. Freezing chokecherries is a common method to preserve their freshness and extend their shelf life.
  2. Before freezing, it is recommended to clean the chokecherries by rubbing them together and draining them in a colander.
  3. Once cleaned, you can place the chokecherries in a zip lock bag or airtight container for freezing.
  4. Freezing chokecherries helps break down the berries, making them easier to juice later on.
  5. When freezing chokecherries, it is important to remove any stems or damaged berries before storing them.
  6. Frozen chokecherries can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to use them for various recipes, such as making chokecherry vinegar, jams, jellies, or other culinary creations.

Preparing Chokecherries for freezing

  1. Select ripe chokecherries: Select chokecherries that are fully ripe and free of any signs of damage or rot. Ripe chokecherries are deep purple or dark red in color.
  2. Washing Chokecherries: Before freezing, it is important to thoroughly wash the chokecherries. Place them in a colander or strainer and rinse under cool running water. Gently remove any stems, leaves, or debris.
  3. Remove stones: Chokecherries contain small stones that can be bitter and unpleasant to eat. Although not necessary, you can remove the stones before freezing for convenience. You can do this by gently squeezing the chokecherries to separate the pulp from the pit, or by using a cherry pitter.

Freezing Chokecherries

  1. Flash freezing method: Freezing chokecherries individually can help prevent them from sticking together in a solid mass. Place the washed and pitted chokecherries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the chokecherries for several hours or until firm.
  2. Packaging: Once the chokecherries are individually frozen, transfer them to airtight, freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. Label them with the freezing date to keep track of their freshness.
  3. Syrup packaging method: Another option is to freeze chokecherries in a sugar syrup. Make a light syrup by dissolving 1 cup of sugar in 4 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool before serving. Place the chokecherries in freezer-safe containers, leaving some headspace, and pour the syrup over them. Seal the containers tightly before placing in the freezer.

Tips and guidelines for freezing Chokecherries

  1. Preserving Quality: Freezing chokecherries at their peak freshness will ensure the best flavor and quality when thawed. Avoid using overripe or underripe chokecherries for freezing.
  2. Blanching: Blanching is not necessary for chokecherries, but it can help maintain their color and texture. Blanching chokecherries in boiling water for about one minute before freezing may be beneficial.
  3. Freezer storage: Chokecherries can be stored in the freezer for up to a year. However, for best flavor and quality, they should be consumed within six to eight months.
  4. Thawing and using frozen chokecherries: To thaw chokecherries, transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow them to thaw slowly overnight. Once thawed, chokecherries can be used in various recipes, such as pies, sauces, syrups, or preserves. They can also be added to smoothies or used as toppings for desserts.

The benefits of frozen Chokecherries

Chokecherries are not only delicious, but also offer several health benefits. These small, tart berries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can support overall well-being. Freezing chokecherries is an excellent way to preserve their nutritional value, so you can enjoy their benefits even when they are out of season. Here are some of the benefits of frozen chokecherries:

  • Rich in antioxidants: Chokecherries are a rich source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins and flavonoids. These powerful compounds help protect the body from oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and support cellular health.
  • Nutrient Powerhouse: Chokecherries are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamin C, which supports immune function and collagen production. They also provide vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and iron, among other nutrients important for overall health.
  • Heart Health: The antioxidants found in chokecherries play an important role in supporting cardiovascular health. They help reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and improving blood vessel function.
  • Digestive Health: Chokecherries are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes a healthy gut. Fiber can help prevent constipation, regulate bowel movements, and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: The antioxidants in chokecherries have anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of chokecherries, even in frozen form, may help reduce inflammation throughout the body and potentially alleviate symptoms associated with conditions such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Weight Management: Chokecherries are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a satisfying snack that can help with weight management. The fiber content promotes satiety, which reduces the likelihood of overeating.
  • Versatile culinary ingredient: Frozen chokecherries can be used in a variety of culinary creations, including pies, tarts, jams, smoothies and sauces. Their tangy flavor adds a delightful twist to both sweet and savory dishes, making them a versatile ingredient to have on hand.
  • Convenience and year-round availability: Freezing chokecherries allows you to enjoy their benefits year-round, regardless of the seasonal availability of the fruit. Having a stash of frozen chokecherries in your freezer ensures that you always have access to their nutritional goodness and unique flavor.

Remember, the nutritional content of frozen chokecherries remains relatively stable, making them a convenient and healthy option. Whether you enjoy them as a snack on their own or incorporate them into a variety of recipes, frozen chokecherries are a valuable addition to a balanced and nutritious diet.


Freezing chokecherries is an excellent way to preserve their unique flavor and enjoy them throughout the year. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your frozen chokecherries retain their quality and taste. Whether you choose to freeze them individually or in a sugar syrup, properly frozen chokecherries will provide a delightful burst of tartness in a variety of culinary creations. So go ahead and freeze those chokecherries to savor their deliciousness long after the harvest season has passed.


Can you freeze Chokecherries?

Chokecherries should be stored covered in the refrigerator and will keep up to one week. Arrange dry, fresh chokecherries in one layer on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer. When frozen, transfer berries to freezer bags or containers. Properly frozen chokecherries will last up to two years.

Can you freeze chokecherries to make jelly later?

(If the juice is to be used for jelly, choose berries that are under ripe as well as ripe, so the pectin content of the juice is higher). Combine juice and sugar. Bring top a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Pour into clean jars and freeze, or process for later use.

What is the difference between chokecherry and chokeberry?

Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, is a native plant that suckers and grows rapidly. One way that chokecherry is different from chokeberry is that the fruit of chokecherry turns black as they mature, whereas red chokeberry fruits stay red through development. Chokeberries are also much more tart than chokecherries are.

Are chokecherries good for you?

Aronia berries, or chokeberries, grow on shrubs of the Rosaceae family. They’re rich in fiber, vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants that may have heart-healthy, immune-boosting, and anticancer properties.

Can I freeze chokecherry syrup?

Simmer over low heat until fruit is very tender. Don’t crush the seeds when you stir. Strain through cheesecloth. Use, freeze or can.

How do you freeze jam berries?

Store the uncooked mixture in air-tight freezer containers or resealable plastic freezer bags and toss them in the freezer for up to 12 months. Down the road, when you’re ready to make the jam, simply thaw the pre-measured fruit and sugar mixture and proceed with the cooking and processing steps.

How do you remove pits from chokecherries?


  1. Wash and de-stem the chokecherries.
  2. Add chokecherries to water and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. …
  3. Boil until seeds fall out.
  4. Use a colander to separate the seeds keeping the pulp with the juice.
  5. Add flour or corn starch to pulp/juice mixture.

How do you know when chokecherries are ripe?

The plants stand out in the landscape when they’re in bloom, so make a note when you pass a good clump, and check back in late summer or early fall. Chokecherry fruit will be red in mid-summer, but usually takes a month or more to fully ripen to a dark purple color.

Are chokeberries poisonous to humans?

Like cherries and apricots, it’s not the flesh or skin of the fruit that’s toxic; instead, it’s the seed or pit. Chokecherries contain amygdalin, which the body converts into cyanide, a deadly poison, which is why people don’t generally eat cherry pits.

Why are they called chokecherries?

Food: The common name, chokecherry, came from the bitter and astringent taste of the fruit. The fruit was a staple for numerous Indian tribes across the North American continent, especially to tribes who lived on the plains and prairies.

What did Native Americans use chokecherries for?

Chokecherries were an important food staple for many indigenous peoples of North America. Berries were eaten raw or dried and mixed with pemmican. The Jicarilla Apaches ground dried chokecherries and pressed them into cakes for use during the winter months (Niethammer, 58).

How did indigenous people use chokecherries?

Aboriginal people in the southern and northern Interior ate the choke cherry fruit. They collected the cherries in the fall and dried them, often with the stones left in. They used the choke cherry wood for handles, and shredded the bark and used it for decorating basket rims.

What did Native Americans use chokecherry for?

The chokecherry was also used by various tribes to make Pemmican. It was adopted as a high-energy food by Europeans involved in the fur trade, and later adopted by explorers. Pemmican was made by drying meat and pounding it into a fine texture with stone. Bone marrow and animal lard were heated and mixed with the meat.

Do you wash berries before freezing?

Select well-colored berries that are fully ripe. Avoid leaky, mushy, or discolored fruit. Before freezing, remove any berries that are immature, moldy or discolored. To wash berries, place in a colander and submerge two or three times in a sink full of cold water.

Can you freeze berries whole?

Wash all fruit before freezing. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries can be frozen whole. Do not remove the hulls of the strawberries before washing to prevent the fruit from absorbing water. Allow the berries to drain and dry completely.

Does freezing fruit destroy pectin?

There are two types of pectin, liquid (usually made from apples) and dry (from citrus fruits or apples). Powdered pectin can be stored in the freezer from one season to the next. Freezing will destroy the gel-producing qualities of liquid pectin, but liquid pectin will keep for two years in a cool, dry place.

Can you freeze fruit to preserve it?

Freezing fruits is the simplest, easiest and quickest method of preservation. Freezing costs more than canning or drying because of freezer purchase and operating costs, but it preserves more nutrients and fresh flavor, if done properly.

Can I use frozen berries to make jam?

Place the frozen berries in a jam pan or other flaring, heavy-bottomed pot and set it over low heat. As the berries defrost, they will begin to weep, creating liquid in the bottom of the pan. Stir continuously until the juices are released from the berries. The heat can be increased as the juices pool in the pan.