People often wonder how to dry cranberries. Dry cranberries are an excellent way to add flavor to your favorite dishes. Dry cranberries are also very healthy because they contain antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and K, manganese, potassium, and fiber. Read on for a step-by-step guide to drying cranberries.
First, you need to obtain your cranberries and prepare them for drying. There are a few different approaches you can use for drying. In this post, we will show you how to dry cranberries using a dehydrator and also how to dry them using an oven. When drying the cranberries, you may or may not want to sweeten them, but be aware, unsweetened dried cranberries are very sour and may end up being too sour to really enjoy them.
Prepare the cranberries by rinsing them under cold water and pour them into a bowl. The next step in preparing the cranberries is to blanch them.
Here’s how to blanch cranberries:
To dry cranberries using your oven, begin by spreading them out on a cooking sheet so that there is space between each one for heat and air circulation.
To begin, spread the berries on the trays of your dehydrator in a single layer so that there is space around each berry for proper circulation.
Another way to dry cranberries is to add syrup which the cranberries can soak up and absorb.
You can also dry your cranberries in a sauce or juice. Use fresh, unsweetened fruit juice or pureed fruit for best results. Combine the juice of half a lemon with 2 cups of water. Or puree ¾ cup cranberries with ½ cup fresh apple juice. Dip the berries into the mixture and let them dry for at least an hour. You can then proceed with the drying process using any of the techniques above!
Another technique to try is soaking the cranberries in saltwater and then drying them. Be aware that this method will not produce cranberries with a crunchy texture, but they will still taste very good!
After your cranberries have dried and cooled completely, store the dried cranberries in a glass jar container and keep 2 inches of headspace. Shake your jar several times a day for the first week, so that the berries don’t stick to one another due to any moisture. If, after one week, there isn’t any moisture on the glass containers, transfer the cranberries to air-tight containers for long-term storage.
After sealing, the cranberries can last up to 1 year if stored in a cool dark environment. You can also store the sealed cranberries in the freezer, for up to 1 year. In hot and humid climates, always store the dried cranberries in the freezer.
Once you open the sealed cranberries, store them in the refrigerator and use them within 3-4 weeks.
Tip #1: When blanching cranberries, never boil the cranberries along with the water. This will turn your cranberries into cranberry sauce! Instead, always pour the boiling water on the cranberries, let them soak for 10 minutes, and drain.
Tip #2: Make sure that the cranberries are not overcrowded on the drying trays. It’s important that there is sufficient space between the berries for hot air and heat to flow through for even drying.
Tip #3: You can also halve your cranberries to speed up the drying process.
Cranberries are often used for Thanksgiving recipes, but you can use dried cranberries all year round! Dry some before the holiday rush!
Sweetened dried cranberries can be incorporated in a lot of baked desserts. However, the measurement is a little different. So, in a recipe that uses 1 cup of fresh cranberries, you can substitute them with ¾ cup of sweetened dried cranberries. You can also incorporate your dried cranberries in your cereals and salads! You can also use cranberries as a substitute for raisins in your oatmeal raisin cookies!
Before cranberries are dried, you need to crack their tough skin. This is done by a process called “checking”. In “checking”, the pores on the cranberries are opened up which allows the moisture to escape and accelerates the complete drying process. In our case, the checking method used is blanching.
While it is possible to dry your cranberries in the microwave, this method is not recommended. The results using this method won’t be the same as when using a dehydrator or an oven and may even end up killing all the nutrients in the cranberries. However, if you do want to try out this method, place the cranberries directly on the microwave plate, keeping space between the individual berries. Set the microwave to the defrost setting and check progress after 30 minutes.
Cranberries are rich in many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And while they are considered a superfood, they can cause an upset stomach or nausea if eaten in large quantities. You should limit yourself to about half a cup of dried cranberries per day if you are healthy enough to eat them regularly.
The best way to tell if your cranberries have gone bad or have spoiled is by their appearance and smell. If they smell off, or they have a moldy appearance, discard them. Always check your cranberry jars to see if there is any moisture collected inside them. If yes, your berries might need to be re-dehydrated.
One of the best things about drying cranberries is that you can use them long after cranberry season has ended. Plus, there are more uses for dried cranberries than just snacking on them! Dried cranberries can be used in recipes for bread, muffins, salads, sauces, and even as decoration for holiday cheer. Be sure to also check out our full guide on Drying Food!
So what are you waiting for? Let’s start drying those cranberries!
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