Dry your cranberries

If you’re interested in eating some dried cranberries without the added sugar you’re going to have to make your own. Unfortunately, unsweetened dried cranberries would not win over many customers. Cranberries are just too tart for most people. However if you’re a foodie or just simply not interested in consuming processed sugar, there are ways to dry cranberries at home. Simple ways. Here are a few options.

Unsweetened Dried Cranberries – Method #1

  • 12 ounces of fresh cranberries (more or less is completely fine – cranberries are usually sold in 12 ounce bags)
  • 2 cups of boiling water

Submerge the cranberries in the pot of boiling water with the heat turned off. Let the berries sit in the water until the skins pop. It’s important not to let the cranberries boil otherwise they will become too mushy. Drain the berries and then transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for about an hour or until the berries are completely frozen. Place berries on a mesh sheet and then put them in your dehydrator until they are dry and chewy, about 16 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator place them in the oven set at around 150 F for about 6 hours.

Unsweentened Dried Cranberries – Method #2

Follow the directions for Method #1 but forgo putting the berries in the freezer. This method may take longer for the berries to dry but it is still very effective.

Sweetened Dried Cranberries – Method #1

  • 12 ounces of fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon of Rapadura, stevia or your favorite natural sweetener, I do suggest using a dry sweetener with this method
  • dash of sea salt (optional)

Using a pairing knife, cut each cranberry in half and lay them face up on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cranberries with sweetener of your choice. I like to add dash of salt across the berries, simply because I like the sweet and salt combination, but this is a personal choice. Let the berries set in your oven for an hour (turned off) or so before transferring them to your dehydrator. Dehydrate for about 16 hours. If you are using your oven, put the temperature at the lowest setting (usually around 150 F) and bake for 3 to 6 hours.

Sweetened Dried Cranberries – Method #2

  • 12 ounces of fresh cranberries
  • 2 quarts of boiling water
  • 1/4 cup of honey, brown rice sweetener, or maple syrup

Follow the directions for Unsweetened Dried Cranberries Method #1. Before placing the berries into the freezer coat the berries with sweetener of your choice. I found honey and brown rice sweetener are easier to work with when heated up a bit in a sauce pan.

Helpful Suggestions

My experimenting with dehydrating cranberries has taught me a few lessons. First, always use fresh cranberries. In other words if you are interested in drying cranberries at all, you may want to consider doing it when fresh cranberries are available. Fresh cranberries are available now if you know of a friendly cranberry grower willing to impart some of his precious berries. Otherwise they are generally available in the supermarkets starting in mid-October through December. It is possible to use frozen berries, though from my experience they come out too tough and take forever to dry.

Second piece of advice, if you’re not too sure if your berries have completely dried, you may want to double check. Dried cranberries only store well when they are completely dried. To know for sure simply place some berries in a zip-lock bag and seal. If the bag begins to fill with moisture the berries need some more time to dry. You can store your dried berries in a glass Mason jar or in a zip-lock bag. I keep mine in the freezer if I don’t plan on using them all right away.

Every Tuesday we will try to post a cranberry inspired recipe. Whether you’re from a cranberry growing region or not, you might have a recipe or two stashed away in your pantry. If so, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at revs_al@cranmoms.com so we can share your recipe and story on our blog.

We’ll be participating in Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday with this recipe. An excellent resource for some amazing, healthy recipes. I highly recommend you check it out!


11 Responses to Dry your cranberries

  1. Christina says:

    do you prefer your berries sweetened or unsweetened?

    • Revel says:

      it depends on what I’m going to use them for, though I generally prefer them to be more on the unsweetened side. For example I do like the sweet and dried cranberries on my salads but would prefer to have unsweetened dried cranberries in my snacks as there is usually another sweetener already in the snack. of course, like true native as yourself, I LOVE my cranberries right off the bog!

  2. Em says:

    Thanks for the directions! I never would have known to boil the berries before dehydrating them, much less freeze them! :)

  3. Christina says:

    what kind of dehydrater do you have? do you think they are worth investing in? do you use yours alot? do you think it is better to invest in a more expensive one or will anyone do? thanks!!!

    • Revel says:

      So I have a Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator (see Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FFVJ3C/ref=oss_product) and am really happy with it. I did lots of research before buying one and basically decided I didn’t need a more expensive dehydrator in order to get what I wanted out of it. Plus I wasn’t too sure how much I’d end up using it. Anyhow I LOVE it! I have been able to dry all sorts of fruits and veggies that I’m able to store away for later for either snacks or to use in soups and so on. I have also dried nuts (after soaking them) and oats (see here for the reasons why I like to soak and then dehydrate: http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/07/soaking-nuts.html). I also plan on using it to dry herbs. The dehydrator is super easy to use and it literally takes 2 minutes (5 at the most) to prep the food & throw on there and then plug in. I put mine in a room that we don’t use much so we don’t have to hear the noise (it’s not loud but it does have a noise… kinda like your dishwasher). It’s not a MUST have kitchen item but it is useful, especially if you plan on having a garden or just want to keep healthy snacks around without having to worry about refrigerating them. I do keep my dehydrated foods (except my nuts) in the fridge or freezer in zip-lock bags but you can just keep them in a cool dark place for up to 6 months (like your cellar – which a lot of people do). Hope this is all helpful!!!

  4. […] adept at making apple chips, although dehydrated pineapple is quite good, too (very chewy!). My naked and maple-sweetened cranberries didn’t work out so well, unfortunately. Kale chips have also been great. Rob and I enjoying […]

  5. Laurie says:

    Thanks for sharing! I always wanted to make my own! I have my first batch in the freezer now and plan on making a bunch before cranberries become unavailable! I love them in my oatmeal in the morning!

  6. Jessie says:

    I just did some in my oven but made the mistake of waiting for them ALL to pop so lost a LOT of the flavor and texture. Lesson learned. So do I slice the ones that don’t pop or just poke them? I don’t have access to fresh so I let mine thaw. However, you mention you put yours in the water after it boils but w/ the heat off then say not to let the berries boil .. typo? or do you mean we’re to turn the heat on AFTER we put the berries in? I’ve been reading so many articles online and they’re all similar but w/ enough differences that I’m willing to trust yours a bit more since you actually GROW them. I don’t have a dehydrator (budget constraints) so do a cpl hrs @ 170F in the oven then leave them in there for 6 to 8 hrs then same amt in our winter garage, rinse, repeat. Also, the sweetening: I drizzled some simple syrup on them when the mostly mush was 80% dry just to see if it would dry, it did, but I’d like to try to do a sweeter batch next. How do I do this? Toss the blanched and towel-dried berries in some dry sweetener (sugar) or drizzel a liquid? Or do I use the blanching liquid to do it? I’d be willing to experiment if you’re willing to offer some guidance .. I’d post results too ..

  7. […] sugar that always comes in the packaged kind. Today I gave it a whirl. My method is adapted from┬áthis post from the Cranberry Moms blog that I found. For this post I will use cranberries as an example, but I’ve heard that you can […]

  8. Dana says:

    I must admit, it took me a long time to dry the cranberries to be more like raisins, and to get most the moisture out. I left them in the oven overnight as directed, and then froze them again, and then put them in the microwave for 20 minutes on low (20% power). When I froze them again, they seemed the right consistency.

  9. Flynn says:

    Have you ever tried sweetening them with apple juice? I’d like to makes some that don’t have refined sugar, and there are some really tasty apple juice sweetened ones at my local market.

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