Drying your own cherries at home is easy and has many advantages. Drying cherries will allow you to enjoy this fruit all year long. Buying dried cherries at the grocery store can get expensive. Also, if you dry them yourself, you know exactly what went into the process and don't have to worry about added sugar or preservatives. In addition to cherries, there are many other fruits that can be easily dried at home, such as apples, plums, bananas and berries.
Choose cherries that are ripe and don't have any blemishes like bruises, dents or cuts. Plump cherries will be easier to cut up for drying.
Wash cherries carefully in clear water. Remove the stems from the cherries and cut them in half to remove the pits.
Lay cherries with cut sides up on baking trays. Cherries can be dried either inside or outside if the weather is hot and dry. To dry cherries outside, put trays outside in a sunny location for several days, until cherries are wrinkled and moisture-free. Make sure to turn the cherries on the tray every day to dry both sides. When you bring them inside, place trays in an oven that is heated to 160 degrees for half an hour to kill off any bugs that might have been attracted to them during the drying process.
To dry cherries indoors, place cherries cut side up on baking trays in the oven. The oven should be heated to 165 degrees and the cherries should cook at that temperature for about three hours. After that, drop the temperature to 135 degrees and continue cooking for about 16 to 24 hours.
Assess whether cherries are done by inspecting them. Cherries are done drying when they are firm, but still malleable. Dried cherries will be sticky and wrinkled.
When drying cherries outside, make sure to keep the trays off the ground to prevent moisture from getting to them. Also remember to check the weather, cherries should only be dried outdoors in clear, warm weather.