Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Making Dried Cherries from Frozen Cherries

Frozen cherries often go on sale at my local supermarket--meijer, and dried cherries are quite expensive. I do not think I have ever seen dried cherries marked down, so several weeks ago, I decided to try drying them myself. 

I used the dried cherries that I had made in a chicken recipe last night. They plumped right up, and the taste was excellent, so I am sharing my results!

the frozen bag of cherries I started with
I do not have a dehydrator. You can dry the cherries in the oven or in the sun. Since it was still quite cool out when I dried these in April, I dried them in the oven.

Ingredients: I used one 12 ounce bag of unsweetened, no sugar added, dark sweet cherries.

cherry juice

Step 1: Slice the cherries in half and squeeze out all of the juice. I ended up with about ¼ cup of cherry juice concentrate (also expensive!) that I used in a different recipe shortly after I had dried the cherries. Store the juice in the refrigerator until ready to use.
cherry juice

Step 2: Place cherry halves on a baking sheet. I suggest lining it with parchment paper. I did not use parchment paper for this batch, and I will definitely use it next time. The cherries did not stick too badly, although I think the process would have been nicer if I had lined the baking sheet first.

Step 3: Dry the cherries! This can be done in the oven on low heat, or in the sun. Cover the cherries with cheesecloth, if you will be setting them outside to dry in the sun. 

The lowest temperature my oven will go is 170°, so I set the baking sheet in the oven with the door ajar for about 3 hours, and then I turned the oven off. I left the door ajar so the light was on, and then left the cherries where they were overnight (about 10 more hours). The next morning, they looked perfect. The cherries should be dry but still pliable (kind of like raisins).
storage jar

Step 4: Store the cherries in a glass jar in a cool dry place until ready to use.

Yield: I started with a 12 oz. bag of frozen cherries, which netted about ¼ cup juice and about 1 cup of dried cherries.

dried cherries used in a recipe weeks later

Pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them. Please share your results, too!