Tart Cherry Powder

How to Dry Cherries and Make Cherry Powder

In previous articles we pointed out the enormous benefits, nutritional value, medical uses and delicious taste of cherries in general and a few special sorts. This only applies as long as the cherries and cherry products are in good condition. Cherries have a high water content and offers an ideal place for microorganisms to live and spread. As such fresh cherries and fluid cherry products (despite preservatives) do not last long and become foul rather quickly. A popular way to circumvent this is to use dry cherries or cherry powder. In this article we will talk about the benefits of theses forms and how you can do it at home.

Dried cherries are as the name suggests de-watered cherries. It is possible that it loses some of its more volatile beneficial components in solution when water is drawn out, but the advantage of dried cherries clearly outweighs this insignificant loss.

If you want to dry cherries at home, first pick organic cherries. These are cherries grown organically which means they have been cultivated with a minimum of modern protecting agents. These agents may be pesticides, anti-bacterial, anti-fungi agents to name a few. You might as well pick the best cherries for drying at home. Start by pitting the stones. It’s best if you use a commercially available cherry pitter. Doing it with your hands has the risk of contaminating the cherries. In any case make sure the cherries remain clean. Put them on a plate and in the oven at 135 °F (57 °C) for 24h. When taking them out, they will be wrinkled showing a leathery appearance. Do not set the temperature too high, delicate organic compounds could be destroyed. Also, do not try to dry them in sunlight; UV light will destroy precious nutrients. Once you have dried your cherries they can be stored for months, provided the place is dry, clean and dark. These dried tart cherries or even sweet ones are ideal to be put in soups, sauces and drinks.

Cherry powder can be obtained once you have dried the cherries. The advantage of pulverizing cherries is that you draw out even more water. That’s right. Even though you have dried your cherries before, there is always some water remaining trapped in the tissues of a whole cherry. As you grind it down the structure is broken and more water molecules can escape. It’s therefore not a bad idea to dry the cherries again after you have pulverized them with a commercial cherry grinder. After this redrying procedure cherry powders can be stored away even better. The practical advantages of cherry powders are that they can be mixed and distributed into food faster. If you want the taste of cherries in emulsions like yoghurt and creams the only effective way is to add cherries in this powder form.