Have you tried the cherries this summer? They are so much better then they've been the past few years. They have been extra sweet and juicy and I've been buying them several pounds at a time. Mostly I've been eating them by themselves, but I've also made a few recipes with them as well
In the early part of the summer the cherries were way too expensive but the last 3 weeks they've been $1.99/lb. When I went to the store this week I noticed they were back up to $5.oo/lb. and was saddened. Thankfully when I went to the other market in town they were still under 2 dollars. I promptly bought 4 pounds and went home trying to figure out what to do with them.
I've been wanting to try to somehow make something similar to craisins. My husband loves the cherry flavored craisins so I thought that if I could dry the cherries, he could put those in his oatmeal instead. Also, dried cherries would last much longer then fresh ones so I could prolong the end of cherry season.
I found a recipe from one of my Sunday Supper friends. It looked super simple as the only ingredient was cherries! I would have liked to have had a dehydrator to make the dried cherries but since I don't, this oven baked recipe was perfect. It requires baking the cherries on low heat for 6 hours. I'm a little impatient so I turned up the heat by 50 degrees and it reduced the baking time by 1 ½ hours which was much better.
The dried cherries have a wonderful flavor. They are great in oatmeal, in cereal, or just to grab as a snack. There's no added sugar, no preservatives, or no added flavorings so they are good for you too. I may go back to the store and buy a few more pounds to dry so that we have them for a few more months!
- 2 lb. cherries
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Remove the stems from the cherries and use a cherry pitter to remove the pits.
- Place a silicone baking mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet. I needed 2 baking sheets for the 2 pounds of cherries.
- Place a wire cooling rack on top of each baking sheet and arrange one pound of cherries on each. Make sure there is space in between each cherry.
- Bake for 4 to 4½ hours or until the cherries look withered and dried.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.
- Place in a jar with a lid or an air tight container.