The time I have spent recently searching Craigslist and garage sales for a food dehydrator has paid off. I am officially the owner of this beauty. I found her at a yard sale near my house; someone's grandma had purchased the thing on QVC and never even used it.
Tara and I went cherry picking here a couple of weeks ago and ended up with 6 lbs. of lamberts (dark red) and queen annes (yellow and pinkish). I did a little research on how to dry the cherries and found some great information on this website.
After getting such a great deal on the dehydrator and the cherries I almost broke down and bought one of these, but in the end, decided to be responsible and use a more budget friendly method--a straw--to get the pits out. (More info on how to do that here)
After our cheap straws bent under the pressure, Jeff and I were trying to think what fast-food restaurant or mini-mart had the sturdiest straws until Tara called with the brilliant idea to use one from a sippy cup.
Using the recommendation from the aforementioned website, pitted cherries were frozen, then defrosted and put into the dehydrator.
The 6 lbs. of cherries took up all 7 trays in the dehydrator and ended up taking around 26 hours to dry completely.
I learned that when drying fruit, the dehydrator can be opened at any time to check for doneness. This was helpful information, as some of the cherries dried quicker than others, so I could remove those and leave the others to continue drying. When the cherries look and feel like a raisin, they are done.
And the final product--definitely worth all the prep work, even though the piddly amount you end up with doesn't seem like it.