fresh cherries

is it possible to sub fresh ones for the dried versions that come in packages for use in baking recipes (not pies), or how fresh ruin the recipe bec. of the juice? is it even possible to dry these like those in packages? thx.

  • Posted by: barb48
  • July 29, 2015


sonya August 10, 2015
You're right, the juice would ruin the recipe, so you can't substitute fresh cherries for dried cherries in a recipe. You could learn how to dry your own cherries and then use them that way; some people buy special food dehydrators because it's much quicker, but you can also research how to do it in your oven.

If you're looking for a recipe to use up some fresh sweet cherries (not fresh sour cherries), here's one that's good:

Sweet Cherry Pie

From America's Test Kitchen Season 11: All-American Fruit Desserts

Why this recipe works:

To tame the cherries’ sweetness and get them to break down to the proper, juicy texture in our sweet cherry pie recipe, we cut back on the amount of sugar we were using and added some pureed plums. We cut the sweet cherries in half and tossed some of them into the food processor along with the plums, then strained out the chewy skins for a soft filling. Finally, we placed the sweet cherry pie on a preheated baking sheet to ensure that the bottom crust crisped up before the fruit filling could seep through.

Sweet Cherry Pie
Cherry season is a mere blip on the summer-produce radar. For a juicy pie with the best fruity flavor, we’d have to look beyond the cherry tree.

Makes one 9-inch pie serving 8

Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute extra water. The alcohol is key to our recipe; if you don't have vodka on hand, you can use another 80 proof liquor. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie dough and will require more flour to roll out (up to 1/4 cup). The tapioca should be measured first, then ground in a coffee grinder or food processor for 30 seconds. If you are using frozen fruit, measure it frozen, but let it thaw before making the filling; if you don’t, you run the risk of partially cooked fruit and undissolved tapioca.


Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold (see note)
1/4 cup cold water
Cherry Filling
2 red plums, halved and pitted
6 cups (about 2 pounds) pitted sweet cherries or 6 cups pitted frozen cherries, halved (see note)
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground (see note)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water


1. FOR THE PIE DOUGH: Process 1½ cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening; process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 equal balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

3. Remove 1 disk dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with 1 hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 40 minutes.

4. FOR THE FILLING: Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Process plums and 1 cup halved cherries in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Strain puree through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids. Stir remaining halved cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, bourbon (if using), tapioca, and cinnamon (if using) into puree; let stand for 15 minutes.

5. Transfer cherry mixture, including all juices, to dough-lined plate. Scatter butter pieces over fruit. Roll second disk of dough on generously floured work surface (up to ¼ cup) to 11-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least ½-inch overhang. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges with egg mixture. With sharp knife, make 8 evenly spaced 1-inch-long vents in top crust. Freeze pie 20 minutes.

6. Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble around the edges and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

7. Transfer pie to wire rack; let cool to room temperature so juices have time to thicken, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
barb48 July 30, 2015
Thank you all! I figured I wouldn't really be able to sub fresh for dried, but thought I'd ask just in case. :))
PieceOfLayerCake July 29, 2015
That certainly depends on what you're using them in, but more often than not the substitution is far from seamless. Its a case by case issue but let me put it this way: In my opinion, fresh cherries and dried cherries have both a different flavor and a different texture, so their applications are just as different.
702551 July 30, 2015
This is correct. For the most part, the same comment could be applied to almost any other dried fruit. Fresh apricots and dried apricots have a different flavor and texture. Same with plums and prunes, as well as grapes and raisins. We could go on and on, but I think the point has been made.

Generally speaking, if a recipe calls for a dried version of something, it is because the recipe author wanted the specific characteristics of the dried product and not the fresh one. If the fresh product can substitute the dried product, the recipes will likely say so, but because of the frequently vast differences in flavor, texture, moistures, appearance, etc., this is decidedly infrequent.

One thing that works better for fresh fruit substitution than dried fruit is frozen fruit. Again, the texture won't be the same, but depending on the preparation (if the dish is cooked), that might not make a big difference.

Frozen blueberries can substitute fresh ones in pancakes in a fairly satisfactory way. Again, it's a case by case scenario.

And yet another option is to try canned fruit. The canning process typically alters the flavor profile, moisture, and texture of fresh fruit, so again, your mileage may vary.

If you are adventurous enough to improvise from tested recipes, expect some unusual results (some welcomed, others not so much).
Nancy July 29, 2015
oops, should be "Camping STORES." But camping stories might be fun, too.
Nancy July 29, 2015
Barb, this is an interesting question (isn't that what lecturers say when they get a stumper during a Q and A?).
There's no conventional wisdom (that I know of) out there about dried to fresh cherries/berries/fruit as there is for, say, dried to fresh herbs and vice versa.
Even my food substitutions bible doesn't recommend it, either direction, for cherries/berries/grapes.
Instead, they regularly recommend OTHER dried if you don't have the desired one, OTHER fresh ditto.
Also, fresh have a range of about 1/10 (plus or minus) calorie density and 8:1 or 10:1 water compared to dried, so subbing one for the other is going to change any baked item materially.
Haven't done the substitution of fresh for dried except in recipes where the dried are rehydrated (often with a liqueur) to give a different moisture and flavor profile than plain dried.
As for making your own dried, there are dehydrator machines designed for home use (see specialty retailers and camping stories) and some people do their own dehydrating in a conventional oven at low temperatures.
Looking forward to what you find out, what others say.
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