Preserving Cherries

The inspiration: Preserving cherries for the winter

I received these stunning cherries from Stemilt Farms! www.stemiltfarms.com

Stunning cherries from Stemilt Farms!

Cherries are my favorite fruit. I’ll take dried or jarred cherries in a pinch but the best by far are fresh. Nothing compares this fresh fruit, and starting in May, I start watching to see when I can find the sweet red beauties in my local markets.  This year, it seemed as if they would never arrive. When they did, for several weeks the prices were outrageous. This got me thinking – there has got to be a way I can have some form of fresh cherries all the time! I decided I was going to find a way to preserve cherries.

The Innovation: Taking fresh cherries and drying them in the oven

Fresh cherries dried in the oven for 8 hours at 200F

Fresh cherries dried in the oven

 

I had tried simply putting  cherries in a double Ziploc and freezing, and it worked pretty well except they were a little mushy and had a slight bitter taste to them upon defrosting. I also have some cherries that are frozen in whiskey, but I won’t know how they turn out until Chanukah, when I will thaw and air dry them slightly to make boozy chocolates. So after doing a bit of research and experimenting, it seemed to me that the best way to preserve the cherries would be to dry them out.

After winning 4 lbs of cherries from Stemilt Farm, (http://www.stemilt.com) I decided I would use those for drying out. I removed the pits, cut the cherries in half, and baked in a 200F oven for 8 hours. When I removed them, I was concerned they were still not dry enough, so I thought about how to dry them out even more.

My interpretation:  Twice Dried Cherries

Perfectly dried cherries!

Perfectly dried cherries!

 

I’ve heard about how rice dries things out – electronic gadgets, mainly- but I was curious. If I take my dried cherries and put them in uncooked rice, would they dry out more? I took the oven-dried cherries, mixed them in with a few pounds of dry basmati rice, and left the whole thing sit in the back of my fridge for a few days.

Separating the cherries from the rice was a hassle, but my idea worked! They were perfectly dried, almost as well the kind you find in the store. Now not only do I have dried cherries, I also have cherry infused rice that will be prefect for my High Holiday menu.

 

Comments

  1. very impressed that you dried your own cherries. great way to preserve your big win!

  2. Nice! Love these, super fresh cherries dried at their peak!

  3. This is great! I love that the cherries and rice used each other. I’m so curious about the cherry rice, it sounds amazing!

  4. I love how you always challenge yourself – great job! And I love cherries too!

  5. I am going shopping today to buy some cherries. I love dried cherries for cake and banana bread but never thought about drying them myself. Great idea. I do have some cherries preserved in vermouth for my son-in-law’s Manhattans and they are awesome. I recommend.

  6. I wonder if this will work with cranberries too — I buy them fresh at Thanksgiving time and freeze them whole.

  7. Loved the idea of drying the cherries in Basmati Rice. We didn’t know you could do that.

  8. Great work, I love the tartness of dried cherries, I would love to try these.

  9. Wow! This is incredible Sarah! Can’t wait to hear about the cherry infused rice!

Trackbacks

  1. […] so I left it alone and hoped for the best. I dried a few pounds of cherries over the summer (http://foodwordsphotos.com/preserving-cherries/) and this seemed like a perfect way to use […]

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