|Additional Fruit Information
Types of Fruit
Cherries, a specialty fruit that grow on trees, get celebrated each spring with the the arrival of their blossoms.
Typical cherry talk starts by describing them as either sweet or tart. The majority of sweet cherries grown along the West Coast and sell for fresh consumption.
Michigan remains the unchallenged leader in tart cherry production. Tart cherries are primarily sold to fruit processors.
Both types of cherries are dried and sold as specialty items in the dried fruits market. They are considered a good, but not great, source for Vitamin C. Research continues on their antioxidant properties. Most current research suggests that some of their Vitamin C content is lost during drying.
Fresh cherries are well known for their short shelf life. Drying them extends their shelf life up to a year.
Choosing which type of cherries to dry at home is a matter of taste and location. The decision is all but made for people with cherry trees on their property. Choices for those living in areas with U-pic cherry orchards expand, however U-pic orchard choices come with the cost of the fruit.
Most of the brand name dehydrators on the market work for cherries. They operate on principles similar to microwave ovens, with a range of watt outputs and power settings.
Drying cherries starts with washing them, and then removing their stems and pits.
Medium settings, in the 140o range, represent optimal drying temperature.
Depending on the dehydrator power output, measured in total watts, the drying process takes anywhere from 6-18 hours, depending on the amount of cherries being dried.
The end product, dried cherries , have the look and feel of soft pliable fruit chips.
Compared to many other fruits, cherries take longer to dry. Over drying is only recommended for people who enjoy their dried fruit on the crispy side.
Cherries, already little bundles of natural sugar dressed up as fruit, so there is no need to add additional sugar. Consumers shopping for store bought dried cherries should check the package label because more often than not, commercial dried cherries have sugar added.
Use dried cherries for a variety of uses. They rehydrate easily and look and taste great in lemonade and ice tea. Cherries also compliment the traditional Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.
© 2004-2012 Patricia A. Michaels