To dry cherries for fruit leather, wash fresh cherries and remove the stems and pits. Cook the cherries and spread the mixture onto parchment paper-lined dehydrator trays. Dry the mixture at 135°F for 8 to 12 hours before removing and slicing the fruit leather into strips.
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How to Make Cherry Fruit Leather in a Food Dehydrator
Fruit leather is a sweet, healthy snack made from dried fruit that has been sliced into strips. It is made by drying pureed fruit in a food dehydrator or oven.
The next time cherry season rolls around, make dried cherry fruit leather following these steps:
- Wash several pounds of cherries and remove the stems.
- Remove the pits from the fresh cherries using a cherry pitter.
- In a large pot, combine the sweet or sour cherries with a few tablespoons of bottled lemon juice and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil the cherries until a thick mixture forms, stirring constantly.
- Move the cooked mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. If desired, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove larger pieces.
- Place parchment paper on dehydrator trays and spread the mixture evenly. It is better that the mixture is thicker.
- Dehydrate the fruit leather using the fruit setting on your food dehydrator (between 125°F and 135°F).
- The drying time ranges from 8 to 12 hours. Cherry fruit leather should be dried until it is firm and pliable.
- Remove the trays from the dehydrator and allow them to cool to room temperature.
- Remove the dried cherry fruit leather from the dehydrator trays by lifting the edges of the parchment paper.
- Use a ruler and scissors to cut the fruit leather into even strips, keeping the parchment paper as a backing for when it is rolled.
- Roll the strips and tie them closed with a bit of kitchen twine. Store the fruit leather in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dry place.
How to Dry Cherries in a Food Dehydrator
The best way to dry cherries is in a food dehydrator:
- Select ripe, sweet cherries for dehydration.
- Wash the cherries with warm water.
- Remove the stems and pits with a cherry pitter or by hand.
- Cut the cherries into halves, as whole cherries will take longer to dry.
- Lay the cherries on the dehydrator trays in single layers with the cut side facing up. Make sure there is enough space between the pieces for adequate airflow.
- Set the temperature of your dehydrator to 125°F or 135°F (or use the fruit setting).
- Start checking your cherries for doneness after about 6 hours. The drying time will vary depending on the thickness and moisture content of the cherries.
- Cherries are done when they are firm, leathery, and pliable at room temperature.
- Once the cherries are dry, remove the trays from the dehydrator and transfer the dehydrated cherries to a cooling rack.
- Store the dried cherries in airtight containers and keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
How Long Does it Take to Dry Cherries?
It takes between 6 and 10 hours to dry cherries in a food dehydrator. Dehydrating cherry fruit leather in a dehydrator can take between 8 and 12 hours, with thinner layers drying faster.
What are the Benefits of Drying Cherries?
Enjoy the following benefits of drying fresh cherries:
- Dried cherries are a pantry staple and can be used in many recipes
- Dried cherries are easy to store and require little space
- Drying cherries helps to preserve their freshness and extends their shelf life
- Sweet cherries contain vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, iron, and potassium
- The antioxidant compounds in tart cherry products and Montmorency dried cherries help prevent chronic diseases
Do You Have to Pit Cherries Before Dehydrating Them?
Yes, you have to pit cherries before dehydrating them. The best way to pit cherries is to use a cherry pitter or a sharp knife. The best cherry pitters have an ergonomic grip and chute to prevent juice splatter.
The reason for dehydrating pitted cherries is that cherry pits contain a toxic substance called amygdalin, which is also found in fruits such as apricots and peaches. This poisonous compound is converted to cyanide in the body.
Ideas for Using Dry Cherries
You can use dried cherries in numerous ways:
- Add them to baked goods such as cookies or muffins
- Create a DIY trail mix, or add them to granola
- East them as an easy, healthy snack
- Make a cherry compote with dried cherries
- Rehydrate them and add them to quinoa
- Use dried cherry pieces in oatmeal, ice cream, and yogurt
- Use them as a topping on your favorite salads
How to Store Dried Cherries and Cherry Fruit Leather
Store dried cherries in airtight containers, such as Mason jars, to maximize their shelf life. Label the containers and place them in a cool, dark place.
Store cherry fruit leather at room temperature for 2 to 4 weeks or in your freezer for 12 months. The best way to store cherry fruit leather is to keep it in a freezer bag with an oxygen absorber.
What is the Shelf Life of Dried Cherries?
Homemade dried cherries can last for 6 to 12 months. Cherry fruit leather lasts from a few weeks at room temperature to 12 months if stored in a freezer.