I recently procured about 12 pounds of sweet cherries from a woman a work. She is in charge of all of the IPM (integrated pest management) and pesticide application in the teaching and research greenhouses on campus. Throughout the summer, she regularly gets crates of produce leftover from various research projects and brings them in to work for everyone to share! The latest item was sweet cherries. I originally took a 3 pound bag home, but I noticed that there were still some hanging around going into the holiday weekend. Cherries don't have the longest shelf-life, so I "rescued" a couple more bags.
My boyfriend and I ate our fill of cherries for several days, so I'm putting the rest in the dehydrator so we can use them later in baked goods and in salads.
My friend and colleague Cathy gave me this great tip for pitting cherries. Use a paperclip! The trick is that you have to get just the right sized paperclip. I think there are about 3 standard sizes and I ended up using the smaller end of the largest size paper clip. I enjoy picking Cathy's brain about cooking, canning, and gardening because I always learn something new!
I looked in the instruction manual for the dehydrator and was surprised to see that cherries had the longest drying time of any fruit listed (18 to 26 hours). My homemade beef jerky only took like 6 hours! The long drying time is actually kind of nice though because I have been able to start the cherries in the evening and leave the dehydrator running all night and all day during work.