Dried cherries are delicious, added to granola and other baked goods, trail mix and even hot/cold cereals and salads.

Yield: around 90g
Cherries, Fresh, Sweet
or Sour (Tart)

1.  Before you begin: disconnect the dehydrator from the power point. Clean dehydrator racks and base in warm, mild soapy water. Rinse and dry each part thoroughly. Wipe lid and frames with a damp, soft sponge with a mild detergent. Do not use steel wool, scouring pads or abrasive cleaners. Always follow the dehydrator manual instructions. Ensure the dehydrator is unplugged before reassembling. Ensure hands, utensils and food preparation areas are clean before preparing food.
2.  Wash cherries.
3.  Remove any discoloured/damaged cherries. Remove cherry pits. 
TIP: A cherry pitting tool is very helpful! 
4.  Slice cherries 5mm thick (optional) or leave as halves for drying. Try to ensure all of the cherries are the same thickness, so they dehydrate at the same rate. 
5.  Place cherry halves onto dehydrator trays, skin side down, leaving a little space around each cherry for air circulation.
6.  Place dehydrator trays onto the base (or into the dehydrator frame), ensuring all racks/shelves are securely positioned.
7.  Place the lid on the top drying rack (or close the door for square-shaped units).
8.  Plug the power cord into a power outlet and set the dehydrator temperature to 75°C (165°F) and timer to 2-3 hours, then reduce dehydrator to 55°C (135°F) and dry for a further 8-10 hours. Depending on the width of the cherries, and your dehydrator model, this time may vary. 
9.  Rotate racks on round dehydrators every 3-4 hours to ensure all racks dry evenly. 
10.  Cool dehydrated cherries before placing into storage containers or bags. 
11.  Test cherries have dried properly by cutting a piece open. Dehydrated cherries may be soft or hard, depending on the thickness and time dehydrated. Due to their sugar content, they can be sticky (but not wet), like raisins or sultanas. They shouldn’t stick together when squeezed. 
12.  Store dehydrated cherries in an airtight jar, container or vacuum sealer bag in the refrigerator or freezer.  Check for moisture forming on the container during the first week after drying – if moisture appears, food has not been dried for a long enough period and needs to be dehydrated further (or frozen). Dried food can also be covered in plastic wrap (or vacuum sealed) and stored in a freezer safe container. 
13.  Enjoy dehydrated cherries as is or rehydrate by soaking in warm water (or adding to dishes during cooking). Consume rehydrated cherries within a few days (and store in the refrigerator to reduce spoilage).  
TIP: Rehydrate a few dried cherries in brandy for an adults-only treat! 
Author: Megan Radaich           
Image credit: Megan Radaich           
Learn more: www.foodpreserving.org

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