0

I have recently learned that my carb intake is insufficient, leading to so-called "glycogen depletion" while cycling. I have possibly spent too much time around folks who boast of equating a healthy diet with a diet that is partially or fully deficient in carbs. I followed, not realizing the consequences.

Mid bike ride it turns out that a cyclist needs (immediate) simple sugar, in addition to some more complex carbs. At this time of the year sour cherries make their way to the market in vast quantities, but they spoil extremely quickly and must be frozen.

I've tried in the past freezing in zipper bags, intending to eventually learn how to make a proper pie (I never did). Now I'm thinking that there could be another pertinent use for them: cherry bars that are dry enough to carry along on a bike ride, and where the cherries have stabilized enough so that they do not spoil quite as rapidly as they normally do. The need for simple sugars would be satisfied by the cherries; the need for complex sugars by the crust.

My first experiment was to simply add them, in large quantities, to a standard brownie mix. That didn't fare so well. The mixture was too moist to cook uniformly—edges cooked, inside not so much—even after leaving for extra time in the oven. Worse, after a day in the fridge some of the cherries have turned color from the characteristic "still good" bright red to a dull "likely spoiled" crimson red.

Can sour cherries be used in a semi-stable bar? The idea is that I'd use the whole lot (5 kg!) and have ample supply in the freezer.

Related:

3

I will have to preface a bit with bad news about food safety, but bear with me, not all is lost :)

As per standard food safety: "semi-stable" does not exist, at all, for anything. You either have "shelf stable" or "needs refrigeration". And the idea of having baked cherries being shelf stable is impossible. We have a writeup on food safety for beginners, it will likely clear a lot of things up for you: https://cooking.stackexchange.com/tags/food-safety/info.

Your own answer starts going into the right direction, but is not completely there. You can turn the cherries into a jam, but to be shelf stable, you will have to use a 1:1 jam recipe (1 kg sugar per 1 kg cherries), the lower-sugar-ratio recipes preferred nowadays are only shelf stable after canning, and as soon as you open the jar, need refrigeration. Once you have made the jam, you will find out that it is not "solidified", it's smeary. To prevent a mess during transportation, you will have to take a gasket-seal box along on your bike (are you willing to do glycogen-depleting tours with saddle bags?), and eating will require taking a break and doing cleanup.

The second recipe also produces "bars" in the "homemade baking" sense, not in the "convenience food" sense. They will not be shelf stable, and they will be prone to squishing and falling apart. You will need the same procedure as above to transport and eat them.

The only way I see this working is by drying the cherries - and by drying I don't mean such superficial measures as baking a bar twice, I mean using a proper dehydration technique. You have two options.

  1. You start with whole, fresh cherries. You dry them (you can research recipes for this, don't just stick them in the oven and hope for the best) and the result is raisin-like, but intensely sour (if you want it sweet, choose a recipe with sufficient added sugar). Once you have the dry cherries, you can eat them on the bike one-by-one, or make granola bars with them, or bake them into some kind of scones/muffins/bars. Note that the third option requires you to use significanly more dough than cherries, else it will fall apart, so granola may be the way to go.

  2. You make fruit leather. For this, you can start with the frozen cherries you have, or also use fresh ones. You have to juice them and dry the juice. When made properly (again, research recipes!) it is shelf stable and very bike-friendly. Also, it is very friendly to "using it up" projects, since a large amount of cherries produces a small volume of fruit leather. Here too, you may have to persevere through a few learning attempts when using an oven, but if all goes well and you decide to make it your go-to snack, an investment in a dehydrator would be advisable.

2
  • Nice encyclopedic knowledge, and a great answer, but could you address the issue of freezing? Do I get away with preparing cherries-bars and freezing them? I can then thaw a couple of bars, wrapped simply in zipper bags, on the eve of a bike ride.
    – Sam
    Jul 31 '20 at 17:14
  • Your bars will be unsafe to eat two hours after the last moment for which you can prove that they went above 4 Celsius - which, if you don't keep a thermometer with recording device in them, is the moment you take them out of the freezer. The bars will also be messy during transport and eating.
    – rumtscho
    Jul 31 '20 at 17:25
1

The answer may well be no: it's not possible to use the cherries-in-a-juice directly. The general idea seems to be to either first solidify the cherries by turning them into a jam or to bake in two stages, with the first stage acting to dry up the cherries.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.