Homemade Raisins and Dehydrated Cherries

I never thought there’d come a day when I make my own raisins and dehydrated cherries.  But I did!  And they turned out wonderfully!  All you need are the ingredients and a dehydrator!  I use something similar to this one!  I bought mine at a garage sale!  That’s a good way to start to try one out.  It also saves you a lot of money.

I got tired of paying the high price for dehydrated cherries, so in season, I will stock up – pit them – and either freeze them for smoothies or dehydrate them.

Most dried fruits and raisins are made by using sulfur dioxide. It is added as a preservative and antioxidant.    Here is one article describing the risks of sulfur dioxide.

Grapes and raisins are a great snack to eat.  They both contain a  phytochemical compound resveratrol. Resveratrol, a polyphenol anti-oxidant, has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, blood cholesterol lowering activities. Studies suggest that resveratrol has been found to have protective action against cancers like melanoma, colon and prostate, and diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral/ fungal infections.

Benefits of cherries are:

Antioxidant Protection – Cherries contain powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins and cyanidin and  a small amount of quercetin, which is among the most potent in terms of antioxidant activity and a wide range of other health-promoting properties.

Cancer-Preventive Compounds – Sweet cherries contain fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins, each of which may help play a role in cancer prevention.

Reduce Inflammation and Your Risk of Gout – In a study of over 600 people with gout, those who ate only a ½-cup serving of cherries a day, the equivalent of about 10 or 12 cherries, or consumed cherry extract, had a 35 percent lower risk of a subsequent gout attack.

Support Healthy Sleep (Melatonin) – Cherries contain natural melatonin, which is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that helps “cool down” excess inflammation and associated oxidative stress. It also plays a vital role in sleep and bodily regeneration.

Arthritis Pain Relief –Cherries contain many anti-inflammatory compounds, and research suggests they may help to relieve pain from inflammatory osteoarthritis.

 Reduce Post-Exercise Muscle Pain – Athletes who consumed tart cherry juice prior to long-distance running experienced less pain than those who did not. It’s thought that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries may have a protective effect to reduce muscle damage and pain during strenuous exercise.

 Lower Risk of Stroke – Consuming tart cherries may activate PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activating receptors) in your body’s tissues, which help regulate genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism. This activation may help to lower your risk of heart disease.

When I had an abundance of grapes and cherries were in season,  I decided to try my hand at making raisins.  This is what I did.

Bought grapes and cherries!

Washed grapes and cherries!

Pitted cherries!

Set on mesh dehydrator tray!

 

I set my dehydrator for 115° and watched to see how long it took to get the consistency I was happy with.  It took about 48 hours to get to where I thought they were done.  Going forward — I would cut the time down for the cherries because once they cooled down — they became a little too hard.  The raisins turned out great!  Keep in mind that climate pays an important role in dehydrating time as well as the particular dehydrator you may use.

Here they are starting to shrink up.  The grapes are turning brown and they’re taking up much less room on the mesh tray!

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And here they are all done and ready to enjoy!

 

Realistically, I know most of us  cannot make your own dehydrated fruits. People get turned off by the planning, prep and time involved in the process.  But even if you try to make this in a low temp oven — it could be worth the try!!

Enjoy!

Michele 

 

 

 

 

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