Learning how to dehydrate cherries was essential the first year I had a large enough harvest off my pie cherry tree to do more than just snack on them.
I did not have enough of a harvest to can them, but I did get to make two cherry pies, about a quarter gallon of five spice cherries and a batch of Five Spice Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream.
After making the ice cream, I had a few five spice cherries left. There was not enough to can them, but I hated to see them go to waste.
I looked up recipes that used cherries and decided to make cherry muffins – the problem was it is better to use dried cherries in muffin recipes instead of fresh because of the moisture content difference.
Now you may be thinking I could use less liquid in the recipe and that would make a difference, but you see, if I were to miscalculate I would end up with a ruint batch of muffins. That is why I decided to dehydrate them not to mention if I ended up with more dehydrated cherries than I needed I could store them for use later on.
Methods For Dehydrating Cherries
Dehydrating cherries is really easy – especially if you have a good dehydrator – and if you don’t try using the oven on the lowest setting you have or – better yet – lay them out on a clean window screen or drying rack in the sun.
You will want to cover them with screen or similar material to keep bugs off while they are drying.
It is best to lay the cherries so they are spread open because – depending on the method you use – they can take a little time to get leathery enough to safely store.
If you are using a dehydrator with a thermometer, here is how you do it.
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- Fresh pitted cherries
- First, pit the cherries and make sure they are bug free.
- Rinse them off under cold running water.
- I used my Five Spice Cherries, so these steps were already done.
- I did have to drain the liquid off mine and remove the spices.
- You do not need to pretreat cherries with any type of fruit preservative such as Fruit Fresh however there is no reason why you can’t pre-treat them if you wish.
- Once the cherries are clean, drained and ready to go, lay them in a single layer on the dehydrator tray. Try to keep them from touching.
- Once the trays are all full – or you are out of cherries – put the lid on the dehydrator and set the thermostat to 160 degrees F.
- Dry them at this temperature for two to three hours, but be sure to check on them about every half hour just in case they dry faster than you anticipate that they will.
- After three hours, if they are not dry, turn the thermostat down to 130 degrees F until the cherries are pliable, leathery and have no pockets of moisture.
- Allow them to remain in the dehydrator until they are cool, then place them in an airtight container.
- I use glass canning jars with plastic lids. Be sure to label them, put a date on them and store them in a cool, dark and dry place.
- As an alternative you can freeze dehydrated foods.
I highly recommend the following articles:
- How To Dehydrate Garlic Scapes
- How To Can Blueberries
- How To Can Broccoli
- Cinnamon Chocolate Mint Fruit Cocktail Recipe
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