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Drying cherries with a dehydrator is becoming one of the more popular methods of preserving and utilizing cherries for baking and eating. We have been drying cherries for years and through trial and error have discovered the do's and don'ts of drying. Here are a few tips.

 

Cherries dry better and faster after they have been frozen. We recommend pitting your cherries and putting them in ice cream pails, cover with a little sugar and then freeze.

 

Prior to drying, you need to allow the cherries to thoroughly thaw out. This will take a good 24 hours. Before putting cherries on drying racks, hand squeeze as much juice as possible out of the cherries. This will cut your drying time in half, plus for every gallon pail of cherries you will end up with 1/2 gallon of cherry juice.

Drying time depends on your dehydrator and how much water is still in the cherries. We have a five rack dehydrator with horizontal air flow. Each load takes 16-20 hours of drying time at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Do your own experimenting and think raisins or you may over dry. Ten pounds of cherries translates into one pound of dried cherries. Put your dried cherries in zip-lock bags and put bags in sealed containers.

Freeze the juice in jugs or other containers and drink it throughout the year. You will also want to put some wax paper in the bottom of your dehydrator to keep it clean.