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In this article, I give you all the details on dehydrating Great Value frozen Cherry Berry Blend. By far, this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever dehydrated, and it was so easy!
Dehydrating Great Value Frozen Cherry Berry Blend
One day while browsing through the Walmart frozen fruit section, one blend jumped out at me and practically begged me to dehydrate it! It’s the Great Value Cherry blend, which is a blend of strawberries, blueberries, pitted dark sweet cherries, and pitted red tart cherries. The blend comes in a three-pound bag, and at my local Walmart cost a little under $9.
Benefits of Dehydrating Frozen Fruit
Before I get into process and results of dehydrating the frozen cherry berry blend, I wanted to share the benefits of buying a frozen mix like this instead of starting with fresh fruit.
- Cost: Depending on season, berries can be expensive, and at less than $3 per pound, these were a good price.
- Season: This frozen berry blend is available any time of year, so you don’t have to worry about trying to buy the fruit in season.
- Flexibility: You can keep these in the freezer until you are ready to dehydrate them. No worries about them going bad before you get around to dehydrating them!
- Easy: Frozen fruit is already processed. For instance, the cherries are already pitted. Also, when you dehydrate fresh blueberries you first have to poke a little hole into each berry so that when you blanch them (yes, you have to blanch them!), the skin splits. Talk about a lot of work!
Thaw the Frozen Berries Before Dehydrating
I started off by thawing the cherry berry blend by letting the unopened bag sit in the fridge overnight. Note that this step isn’t necessary. I’ve dehydrated a lot of frozen fruit and vegetables without dehydrating first, but since some pieces of the fruit were large and had a lot of moisture, I decided to speed things up a bit by thawing first.
After thawing, there was a ton of juice in the bag. I drained the juice and I’m not gonna lie – drank it. Too delicious to waste!
Put a Fruit Leather Sheet on the Bottom Dehydrator Tray
Even though I drained the juice off the berry mix before putting it onto the dehydrator trays, it was still really juicy. I knew it would make a big mess with all that juice dripping through the trays, so I put a fruit leather sheet on the bottom tray in the dehydrator so it would catch all the juice and make clean up easier.
Put the Berries and Cherries on Dehydrator Trays Using a Slotted Spoon
Even though I had already drained these, they were still really juicy, so I used a slotted spoon to place them onto the dehydrator trays.
Some of the strawberries were really large, so once I used the same slotted spoon to break the large berries in half.
I ended up with three dehydrator trays of the cherry berry mix.
Dehydrate at 135 Degrees
I set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and plugged in the dehydrator.
After 3 Hours in the Dehydrator
After three hours in the dehydrator, all of the fruit was starting to shrivel up, but even the smaller blueberries were still very moist.
After 6 Hours in the Dehydrator
After six hours in the dehydrator, the cherries in particular were still huge and very, very moist. At this point, the smell was already out of this world.
The Next Morning
The Next, Next Morning (Beginning of Day 3)
When it was time for me to go to bed on day two, the cherries were still very plump. But the strawberries and some of the blueberries were completely dry.
So, I went through each of the trays and picked off the completely dry berries and put them into a mason jar. The goal was to help facilitate the drying of the fruit that hadn’t yet completely dried.
At this point, while much of the fruit had dried, the cherries were still very moist and would likely take the rest of the day.
40 Hours In
By the next morning, the dehydrator had been running for about 40 hours.
I had unplugged it occasionally just to give it a little break, but for the most part it had been doing for about 40 hours. Note that I had unplugged the dehydrator a couple of times for a short time, just to give the dehydrator a break. This probably wasn’t completely necessary, but since it was taking so long for everything to dry, I did that to avoid burning up the motor.
Throughout this process, I kept removing berries that were completely dry. As I pulled them off the dehydrator, I put them into a mason jar.
Prior to this last dehydrating cycle, I had put all of the cherries on the top tray, since I had removed the rest of the fruit.
The Results of Dehydrating Great Value Frozen Cherry Berry Blend
First, I’m definitely glad that I put the fruit leather try on the bottom. As you can see in the picture, it caught a lot of juice. I’m sure glad I put that on there, or I would have had a big mess!
Was the Time Worth It?
Obviously, this was a very long and slow process. When something takes this long to dehydrate, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Before I give my answer to that, I want to say that since I did this project, I bought a new Nesco dehydrator that is identical to the one I used in this video. I’ve noticed that the new dehydrator runs much hotter than the old one. Most likely this old one is dehydrating at a much lower temperature than indicated on the dial. It probably would have still taken a long time even on the new dehydrator, but certainly not as much time. Phew!
But let’s say that it still took a long time. I’d say it was worth it, because the taste was out of this world!
What I Do Differently
In the future, rather than buying the cherry berry blend, for dehydrating purposes, I think it would be better to buy a bag of frozen strawberries, a bag of frozen blueberries, and a bag of frozen cherries and dehydrated them separately. The reason is that the fruit dehydrated at drastically different rates, so dehydrating them separately would have made it easier.
The three pound bag filled up slightly more than a one-pint jar after dehydrating.
This is a great way to add some variety to your food storage, especially since the mix has four different types of fruit.
PRO TIP: Freeze drying is a great way to preserve food. Starting with frozen berries is a great option when freeze drying food. To learn more, check out my article, Adding Freeze Dried Food to Your Prepper Pantry.
Here are some of my favorite dehydrating tools
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you strive to stock your pantry with delicious home-dehydrated food! Here are some tools that I use that I’m hoping you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. Please know that these are the tools that I recommend and believe in 100%!
The Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator was my first dehydrator, and still one of my favorites. I actually have two of them! If I was only going to buy one dehydrator and was on a strict budget, this would be it. I love it because it’s very reasonably priced, and is expandable up to 12 trays. I recommend starting with the basic system that comes with 5 trays. Then expand by buying additional trays, fruit leather sheets, and mesh screens.
The Cosori Premium Dehydrator is my most recent dehydrator purchase. In many respects, it’s superior to the Nesco since it is constructed with stainless steel, which is always a winner. I love the ease of use, and how precise it is when it comes to setting the temperature. It’s also versatile in that you can remove some of the racks. This makes it possible to use it for more than just dehydrating. As an example, you can use the Cosori dehydrator to make yogurt, something you definitely can’t do with any of the stackable dehydrators.
Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Pro Food Dehydrator – I’ve had my eye on this dehydrator for a LONG time. I don’t have space for another dehydrator, so I’m just waiting for one of my dehydrators to die so I can buy this one! What I really love about this dehydrator is that it expands to up to 30 (yes, 30!) trays. At 1,000 watts, it’s more powerful than the two dehydrators listed above. If you only have the means to buy one dehydrator, and have limited space to dehydrate, I recommend this one since you can dehydrate a huge amount of food at a time.
The FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing Machine is a great way to preserve the food you’ve dehydrated. The machine I use is no longer available. I chose this one because it’s a great price and includes a port that makes it possible to use the accessory kit linked to below. Since I store all my dehydrated food in mason jars, the jar sealer attachments are a must. But with this device, you can also use food storage bags if you’re short on mason jars, or prefer to seal you dehydrated food in bags.
The FoodSaver Handheld Cordless Food Vacuum Sealer is a great option for those with limited space. I keep mine charged up in my kitchen, so I can easily reseal jars every time I use some of my dehydrated food. While I still love my larger FoodSaver, from a convenience perspective, this one can’t be beat.
The FoodSaver Accessory Kit is a must if, like me, you store dehydrated food in mason jars. You can use this kit with either of the vacuum sealers linked to above. If you can’t get the one I linked to on Amazon, check out this selection of options available on Walmart.