Friday, June 3, 2011

Dried Cherries

We went cherry picking earlier this week, and brought home over 10 pounds! Three days later we are down to less than half that amount, but some of that box ended up in my dehydrator. I invested in one last summer, since Max is so limited in his snack choices, and now is the season it seems to keep a permanent place on my counter. I own this stacking tray style, and it has worked just fine. Some day I might trade up for an Excalibur, but at the time I wasn't interested in spending that much money.

If you are going to dry cherries (or cook with them, for that matter), you need a cherry pitter. I think I spent $12 on mine, and it was well worth the money! Of course, if you are going to dry cherries, you need to pit them, first. I like to do this at the table with a movie playing  on the iPad. It's repetitive work, my friends.

When you are done, you'll have a nice big bowl of pits.
And a big bowl of pitted cherries! You will need to cut them in half for drying, but since the pitting tends to split them a bit, I find it easiest to just tear them with my hands.
Lay them on you trays, with space between for the air to flow. Mine took about 16 hours to dry at 145 degrees.
They are shriveled when done, but not crispy. They should have a similar consistency to raisins. If you are not sure, stick them in a glass jar with a tight lid for a couple of days. If you see any condensation form, throw them back into the dehydrator for another few hours.
Easy, wasn't it? We like ours in granola (my GF recipe is here), in oatmeal or chocolate cookies, on cereal, or just straight out of the jar for snacking!

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