Making dried cherries at home is so simple to do, once you start you will never again purchase bags of store-bought dried cherries. Whether you use them in granola bars, as a cream cheese mix-in, or as a healthy ice cream topping, they are sweet, delicious, and last much longer than fresh cherries. Plus you can avoid all the sulfates put into store bought versions.
There is not much hands-on time involved in making dried cherries. The most time-consuming part of making dried cherries is actually pitting the cherries. While not difficult to do, it can take a while if you are doing it by hand. It goes MUCH faster if you can get your hands on a cherry pitter. While it’s not difficult to clean and pit the cherries, if you are making a large quantity you’ll probably want to invest in a cherry pitter.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Rinse the cherries with clean water and let dry in a strainer or on a dry cloth.
2. When the cherries are dry, take off the stems and remove the pits. Without a pitter, the easiest way to do this is to slice them in half and remove the pit with your hands.
3. Lay them in a single layer in a food dehydrator or on a cookie sheet.
4. If you are using an oven, place the cookie sheet with cherries in the oven at 135 for 6 hours. If you are using a food dehydrator, the same setting and the same amount of time (or slightly less) will work.
The cherries are done when they look like large raisins. They’ll be tart and sweet and perfect for a no-sugar-added snack. They would also be great to add to a trail mix or a homemade granola cereal.
What’s your favorite fruit to dry?