Get more out of an abundance of cherries by drying them!
I bought a dehydrator in April and have been very busy trying new recipes and creations. I had previously used my oven to dry cherries but I didn’t have as much temperature control as I do with my dehydrator. After slicing and pitting the cherries they are lined up on dehydrator sheets and dried for about 18-24 hours. They can be added to granola, trail mix, desserts, yogurt or just eaten on their own.
I did some research on the benefits of consuming dried fruit. Some traditional dried fruit has no added sugar but many others have added sugar, including cherries. In the paper, “Composition, phytochemicals, and beneficial health effects of dried fruits: an overview” Cesarettin Alasalvar and Fereidoon Shahidi mention dried fruits that typically have added sugar, “some fruits such as blueberries, cranberries, cherries, strawberries, and mangoes are infused with sugar solutions or fruit juice concentrates prior to drying. Some products sold as dried fruit, such as papayas and pineapples, are actually candied fruit” (Alasalvar et al 1). The benefit to drying your own fruit is to reduce the extra sugar intake. One of the biggest benefits to dried fruit is the fiber. Dried fruit can help us meet our necessary fiber intake, “the high content of dietary fiber (3.7-9.8 g/100 G) found in dried fruits is an important source that helps meet our dietary recommendations (14 g of fiber for every 1000 calories of food consumed each day)” (Alasalvar et al 2). Fiber is very important and dried fruit is a delicious way to meet our needs.
There has been concern that dried fruit can be detrimental to our oral health. In the article “Dried fruit and dental health” the author Michèle Jeanne Sadler points out how qualities of dried fruit can be considered with oral health, “due to their naturally sweet taste, dried fruits are often perceived as a concentrated source of sugars. Concerns also relate to perceived “stickiness” and the rate of oral clearance which may add to the cariogenic potential” (Sadler 944). However, the “2015 USDA Dietary Guidelines” only specify dried fruit in terms of calories, not oral health. In “addressing the relationship between added sugars and dental caries, the USDA scientific report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee made no specific reference to dried fruit (USDA 2014), and the main focus has become calorie intake” (Sadler 945). Overall there has not been sufficient research to support that dried fruit is harmful to oral health, “common perceptions that dried fruits are “sticky” and adhere to teeth, and that dried fruit is detrimental to dental health, are not supported by good quality evidence (Sadler 958). As long as your brushing dried fruit shouldn’t be a problem for your teeth :)
Makes about 1 cup dried cherries
2 cups dried cherries (or more)
1. Slice cherries lengthwise and remove the pits. Alternately if you have a cherry pitter remove the pits and slice the cherries lengthwise.
2. Line on a dehydrator sheet skin side down. Dry at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-24 hours. Using an oven line the cherries on a baking sheet and dry on your ovens lowest setting, checking every few hours.