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30.6.12

DRYING CHERRIES IN THE OVEN


The migratory birds ate most of it; still they left about a hundred pounds of cherries on the tree. So now, it’s time to pick, eat, give away and to preserve. The cherries are lovely; no wonder the birds had a feast a couple of weeks ago. Jim was out there clapping and rattling stuff, but nothing would deter the bird invasion. I was laughing at the window, undeterred in the knowledge that I will have plenty of work left even if the birds gorge themselves on the half ripe fruit. Then yesterday I put the first batch to dry and made some jam. I will make more jam and jelly today then I may select one of the cherry recipes I have in the cherry folder… of course spending most of my time selecting and pitting cherries.

If sulphured, dry cherries hold their color and last longer, but I don’t make more than what we can eat within a year, besides I would rather not use sulphur. Consequently, my cherries look darker and their flavour resembles raisins more than cherries. However, they are excellent in a trail mix, homemade granola and in various baked goods.

• Select ripe blemish free cherries.
• Wash well in cold water and remove the stems.
• Remove the pits with a cherry pitter or cut each cherry in half removing the pit.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Arrange the pieces cut side up and set in oven at 160F until the tops look leathery.
• Reduce heat to 130F until done.
• If not ready, turn off heat and leave the cherries in the oven for the night. Resume the drying next morning, but watch it, because the cherries will dry quickly from that point on. Mine was finished within the first hour.
• The cherries will be still soft to the touch, but will harden up rather quickly.
• Transfer the cherries to a freshly lined tray immediately. Do not leave them on the original paper for any length of time, because they will stick to the parchment as they cool.
• The cherries should be hard and yet pliable, a little sticky and leathery. Squeezing them should produce no liquid.
• Let the cherries air dry and pack them into sterilized jars with well fitting lids.

5 comments:

  1. Zsuzsa, these amazing dried cherries in the oven are a 'fortune'....the cost of fresh cherries outweigh the price of any fruit we can get here, in S. Florida. We don't grow cherries here, but I do remember as a young child...seriously; about 7yrs old, having a regal cherry tree in our back yard, in Hungary!

    I would much rather prefer to dry my own, instead of buying the dried cherries...and even those, are really expensive!
    Love it, and I would take a big handful of it to enjoy, just like that!

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  2. I would be happy to share Elisabeth! Cherries are expensive here too. We live in a fruit growing part of British Columbia, besides we are in the middle of the cherry season and yet the cherries were $3.00/lb in the supermarket today.

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  3. Zsuzsa, they look so much better than the cherries I buy! Cherries are also quite expensive here (I don't know why because they do not require such hard work while picked as for example strawberries...).
    If I see some special prices I will know what to do!noordso 11

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  4. Sissi, I put another batch in the oven today -- I will use them as snacks on the run. They taste better than raisins.

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  5. I'm back again, Zsuzsa...I don't quite remember the price of the cherries, just know that a bag of cherries even about now, is at least $6.99...could be more than 1 pound; I will check it out later when I go to the supermarket.
    I love, love, dry cherries, as much as fresh cherries!

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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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