Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Make . . . Dehydrated Cherries

Cherries are in season for such a short time - but we can make the best of this ripe, delicious harvest by setting aside a portion to freeze or dehydrate - that is if you don't eat them all as soon as you get home! 

During the first batch, when I pitted fresh cherries some precious cherry juice was wasted. The second batch worked much better with frozen cherries, which aside from giving me red thumbs, is really very simple! So you can start with fresh or frozen cherries, the choice is yours.

To remove the pits from the cherries without losing most of the juice, I freeze cherries in small batches and let them thaw a tiny bit before I remove the pits by hand (I must get a cherry pitter).

Next I drain the pitted defrosting cherries, in a colander over a bowl, which allows the cherries to release their lovely juice as they defrost. By storing the cherry juice in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator, I now have fresh cherry juice ready to be used in recipes, or poured over a fruit salad! 

Simply spread the cherries (now separated from pits and juice) onto a paraflexx sheet on a dehydrator tray - with the skin side down to preserve remaining juice. Dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 12 hours and remove paraflexx sheet, leaving cherries to finish drying on the mesh tray liner. Dehydrate another 12 hours until dry. They should not be crispy, and look like raisins with a bit of moisture remaining.

The dehydrated cherries can now be stored in a glass jar with a lid. I keep mine in the refrigerator - ready when I need them! Imagine how the flavours in your recipes will pop by adding dehydrated cherries! Yummy!

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