Soaking Cherries To Remove Worms

If you’ve ever bitten into a juicy cherry only to discover a wriggling surprise, you’re not alone. Worms, particularly those caused by the cherry fruit fly, can be a common issue for cherry enthusiasts. But don’t fret – there is an effective method for getting rid of those unwanted critters. Soaking cherries in water can help remove maggots, leaving you with mostly or completely maggot-free fruit.

But how does soaking actually work? When cherries are soaked, the maggots within are scared out, resulting in fruit that is safe to eat. This technique is especially useful when cherries are harvested early before the maggots have had a chance to develop and cause significant damage.

It is important to note that sweeter cherries may ripen more easily in the water bath, potentially causing the skin to rip. However, this can be mitigated by adding sugar to the water. By doing so, the cherries can maintain their texture and sweetness, even after soaking.

Key Takeaways:

  • Soaking cherries in water can effectively remove worms caused by the cherry fruit fly.
  • This method is most effective when cherries are harvested early before the maggots have had a chance to grow and cause damage.
  • Adding sugar to the water bath can help counteract potential skin ripping and maintain the sweetness of the cherries.

Preventing Maggots in Cherries

To prevent maggots in cherries, there are several strategies you can employ. One effective method is to introduce nematodes into the soil surrounding the cherry tree. These microscopic worms feed on fly eggs and larvae in the ground, reducing the presence of the cherry fruit fly, which is a common culprit for infestations. It is important to choose the appropriate nematode species that specifically target the cherry fruit fly while preserving other beneficial insects and plants in the ecosystem.

Another preventive measure is to diligently pick up and dispose of fallen cherries. This prevents maggots from burying themselves in the ground and pupating, breaking the cycle of infestation. Additionally, covering the ground with fine netting in the spring can trap flies and prevent them from laying eggs on the green or yellowish cherries.

Here are the preventive measures at a glance:

  • Introduce nematodes into the soil
  • Pick up and dispose of fallen cherries
  • Cover the ground with fine netting

Implementing these strategies can significantly minimize the infestation of maggots in cherries, ensuring a healthier harvest.

prevent maggots in cherries

By taking proactive steps to prevent maggots in cherries, you can enjoy a bountiful and pest-free harvest.

Dealing with Worms in Home-Grown Cherries

Worms or maggots in home-grown cherries, particularly those caused by the Western cherry fruit fly, can be a common problem. These tiny white worms are the larvae of the fruit fly and can significantly affect the fruit quality. While commercial orchards often resort to pesticide spraying, there are organic methods available for home gardeners.

One approach is to clean up fallen twigs and leaves under the cherry tree and spread a layer of dry bagged earthworm castings on the ground. Earthworm castings contain chitinase, which can destroy insect exoskeletons like those of the maggots. Regularly renewing the earthworm castings can help interrupt the life cycle of the fruit fly and reduce infestation.

Another method recommended by experts is to put yellow traps in the trees to monitor the presence of flies and spray the trees with organic sprays like Spinosad to kill the flies at different stages of their life cycle. However, caution should be exercised to avoid harming beneficial insects like bees.

It’s also important to report any infestations to local agricultural departments or UC Farm Advisors for monitoring purposes.

home-grown cherries
Organic Methods for Dealing with Worms in Home-Grown Cherries Pros Cons
Cleaning up fallen twigs and leaves and spreading earthworm castings – Organic and safe for the environment
– Earthworm castings contain chitinase to destroy insect exoskeletons
– Requires regular renewal of earthworm castings
– May not fully eliminate infestation
Using yellow traps and organic sprays like Spinosad – Monitors fly presence
– Kills flies at different life stages
– Must be cautious not to harm beneficial insects
– May require regular monitoring and spraying

The Debate: To Eat or Not to Eat Wormy Cherries

When faced with wormy cherries, there are different approaches to consider. Some people choose to soak the cherries and remove the maggots, accepting that the fruit may taste watery and less sweet. Others opt to sort and cut open each cherry to remove the worms individually, although this can be time-consuming.

However, there are those who are more open to the idea of consuming wormy cherries. It is important to note that the maggots found in cherries are made up of cherry meat and have a similar texture. While the thought of eating maggots may be off-putting, it’s worth considering that insects and insect parts are commonly found in food, with estimates suggesting that the average American consumes up to two pounds of insects per year unknowingly. Ultimately, the decision to eat wormy cherries comes down to personal preference and comfort level with consuming bugs.

Remaining Calm Despite Worms

  • Soak cherries to remove maggots
  • Sort and cut open cherries individually

Considering the Nutritional Value

Despite the presence of maggots, wormy cherries still contain valuable nutrients. Cherries are known for their antioxidant properties and are a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Embracing the Unexpected Protein

While the idea of consuming insects may be unsettling, it’s worth noting that bugs are a common part of the human diet worldwide. In many cultures, insects are considered a sustainable and nutritious protein source.

Pros and Cons of Eating Wormy Cherries

Pros Cons
Rich in nutrients Texture may be off-putting
Less food waste Potential psychological discomfort
Sustainable option Possible societal stigma
wormy cherries

As with any food choice, it is important to have an open mind and respect individual preferences. For those who are open to it, consuming wormy cherries can be a way to embrace the unexpected and explore new culinary experiences.

Preserving Wormy Cherries

If you have wormy cherries and still want to preserve them, there are various methods you can explore. Canning cherries, dehydrating cherries, and freezing cherries are effective ways to preserve the fruit while ensuring that any worms are eliminated or rendered harmless. Let’s take a closer look at each method:

Canning Cherries

Canning cherries is a popular option for preserving the fruit. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Wash the cherries thoroughly.
  2. Pack the cherries into sterilized jars and cover them with a sugar syrup or fruit juice.
  3. Use a canning jar lifter to carefully place the jars into a water bath canner.
  4. Process the jars according to the recommended canning time for cherries.
  5. Once the canning process is complete, allow the jars to cool and check for any worms on the surface before consumption.

Canning cherries not only preserves the fruit but also provides a sweet and flavorful treat that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Dehydrating Cherries

Dehydrating cherries is another great way to preserve them and ensure that any living worms are eliminated. Here’s how to dehydrate cherries:

  1. Wash and pit the cherries.
  2. Spread the cherries out on a dehydrator tray, making sure they are evenly spaced.
  3. Set the dehydrator to the recommended temperature for cherries and let them dry for the specified time.
  4. Once the cherries are completely dehydrated, store them in an airtight container.

Dehydrated cherries make a delicious and convenient snack that can be enjoyed without encountering whole worms.

Freezing Cherries

Freezing cherries after removing the pits is another effective preservation method. Freezing the cherries not only helps eliminate any worms but also maintains their flavor and texture. Here’s how to freeze cherries:

  1. Wash and pit the cherries.
  2. Spread the cherries out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the cherries freeze until firm.
  4. Transfer the frozen cherries into freezer-safe bags or containers and label them with the date.

Frozen cherries are perfect for making smoothies or using in baked goods without the risk of encountering whole worms.

By using these preservation methods, you can enjoy your wormy cherries without directly consuming the maggots, ensuring a delightful culinary experience.

Preserving Cherries Image

Overcoming the Mental Barrier of Eating Wormy Cherries

The thought of eating wormy cherries can be unsettling for some, but by shifting our perspective and considering the experiences of our pioneer ancestors, we can begin to overcome this mental barrier. In the past, cherries were a valuable and limited resource, and our ancestors often had to make practical choices when it came to their food. Eating wormy cherries would have been seen as a necessity rather than a cause for concern.

It’s important to remember that maggots found in cherries are simply made up of cherry meat and have a similar texture. In fact, insects and insect parts are commonly found in many of the foods we consume, often without our knowledge. Studies suggest that the average American unknowingly consumes up to two pounds of insects per year. So, when we encounter wormy cherries, we’re actually just consuming a natural part of the fruit.

To help shift our mindset, we can try chanting positive affirmations or reframing the situation. Instead of focusing on the presence of worms, we can appreciate the nutritional value and unique taste of cherries. By reminding ourselves that eating wormy cherries is similar to consuming other organ meats or foods that contain insect parts, we can become more comfortable with the idea.

overcoming the mental barrier of eating wormy cherries

By embracing the experiences of our pioneer ancestors and recognizing that consuming wormy cherries is a natural part of the fruit-eating process, we can overcome the mental barrier and fully enjoy the delicious flavors that cherries have to offer.


The decision to consume or preserve wormy cherries ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some individuals may choose to remove the maggots and enjoy the fruit, accepting that it may taste different or require extra effort. Others may prefer to preserve the cherries using methods such as canning, dehydrating, or freezing, eliminating the risk of encountering whole worms while still being able to enjoy the flavors.

While the idea of eating worms may initially be off-putting, it is important to remember that insects and insect parts are commonly found in food, and wormy cherries can still be consumed safely. By following proper cleaning and preservation techniques, such as soaking cherries to remove worms or using preservation methods like canning or dehydrating, you can still enjoy the delicious taste of cherries without directly consuming the maggots.

Whether you choose to consume or preserve wormy cherries, it’s essential to prioritize your comfort level and personal preferences. Cherries are a popular fruit loved by many, and with the right techniques, you can continue to enjoy them, even if they have been affected by maggots. So go ahead and savor the unique flavors of cherries while still ensuring a pleasant eating experience for yourself.

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