Cranberry season is here! Drying your own cranberries in the oven or in a food dehydrator is a great way to capture the flavors of the holiday season. While these are a year-round snack for me I do have a soft spot for all things cranberry during the holiday season.
Whether you're adding them to your salad (think early-2000s: mixed greens, nuts, gorgonzola cheese, and craisins) or looking to drive fresh cranberries for a homemade treat, they are delicious. Ready to make some dried fruit? Let's do this.
This post will feature two different methods to dry cranberries, so hopefully, there is an option for you!
Cranberries and Wisconsin?!
So if you're like me and from New England or the Northeast, it might surprise you that the highest number of cranberries grown in the US is not from the great commonwealth of Massachusetts but… The state of Wisconsin!
I first visited the state of Wisconsin last June, and after briefly meeting the liaison for the Wisconsin cranberry Association, I was shocked to learn that the Bay State is not the place you will find cranberries en mas.
Furthermore, I was pretty shocked and even more so to hear that ocean spray sources much of its cranberries from the "cheese head state "since then, I've visited Wisconsin other areas in Wisconsin many times, and I am happy to admit that while my home state especially Cape Cod does not take the top spot for cranberries, we still got our clam chowder.
One of my favorite ways to stock up on cranberries is by buying a couple of bags and storing them in my fridge. They also keep well in the freezer, giving me time to make other holiday dishes during the rest of the year.
Some areas of the US may see cranberries as seasonal holiday-focused fruit, but this tart berry has my heart 12 months out of the year.
Whether using your oven or a food dehydrator, you don't need a lot of equipment for this recipe. Here's what you need to get started
When oven drying, it's essential to have a rimmed baking sheet that is big enough for your cranberry slices.
A good sharp knife will be handy because you can pierce the cranberry skins.
In the Northeast, fresh cranberries are in season in
While buying organic cranberries is not always possible or affordable, sourcing them from a local farmer or food stand can be the best.
Depending on where you source your cranberries, it'll be essential to act quickly and process them within a couple of weeks or freeze them for later use.
- Prep your berries
Give your berries a quick rinse and pat them dry before you start. Make sure to pick out any old or blemished berries.
Use the tip of a paring knife (any sharp knife will do) and puncture the skin of the cranberries.
Method 1: Oven Drying
The first method uses your home oven and keeps things at a low temperature to slowly dry the berries out. As long as you are familiar with any fluctuations in temperature, the oven method is an easy way to dry cranberries without having to use extra equipment.
On you're cooking sheet, place a piece of parchment paper to reduce clean-up
Make sure there is room between the berries for the proper air circulation drying process.
Keeping your oven door slightly ajar is a good way of keeping your oven temperature low enough to dry the berries but not cook them.
Method 2: Food Dehydrator
The second method off uses a food dehydrator which is my preferred method! Start by placing cranberries on a dehydrator tray in a single layer.
Next, add your sliced cranberries to a dehydrator in a single layer, ensuring they have plenty of space between them. It's a good idea to add a mesh sheet under the tray, so they don't fall into the bottom of the dehydrator.
3. Condition dried berries
So once the berries are at room temperature, our job isn't over! We still need to give them a little bit of time in an irritate container with a lid to ensure that the drying process is complete and that there is no extra moisture in the berries.
I know, I want to eat them right away too, and not put them in a jar. This is a critical step to make sure that there isn't any moisture in your fruit, or you'll be pretty disappointed to find moldy berries in your pantry.
Place them in a glass jar (a mason jar) or an airtight container. Shake the jar a few times daily for up to a week to ensure no residual moisture or mold.
Dehydrated cranberries have a tangy taste and are great added to homemade trail mix recipes. You're a few other ways you can use your dry cranberries.
You can make great drinks! They are great, and they're great added to hot or iced tea, topped on a garnish, or simply infused in water.
You can use them as raisins in sweet bread or make your own simple syrup with them.
If you're looking to preserve these for long-term storage, keeping your cranberries in a sealed container is important. Keep these in a dark place and out of direct sunlight. That way, you can open them and enjoy your berries.
if you'd like to rehydrate your dried cranberries, it only takes a few short steps.
- Place dried cranberries in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes, drain or remove with a slotted spoon and pat dry.
- Place dried cranberries in a food processor fitted with a steel blade or blender, add sugar, and puree until smooth.
- If you want to make the candied cranberry recipe, pour equal parts water and sugar into a large pot over medium heat. Add cranberry puree and bring to a boil, occasionally stirring until thickened (about 20 minutes).
- Pour into jars or containers and let cool completely before storing the refrigerator.
The time of year to get the best cranberries is mid to late June and the Northeast.
To make dried cranberries, you can dry them on a sheet tray in the lowest temperature setting.
Cranberries are tart, red berries that are native to North America. The cranberry harvest begins in late September or early October and lasts until late November or early December.
How to Dehydrate Cranberries
- 1 cup of whole cranberries
- 1 airtight container
- Start by placing cranberries on a dehydrator tray in a single layer.
- Next, add your sliced cranberries to a dehydrator in a single layer, ensuring they have plenty of space between them.
- It's a good idea to add a mesh sheet under the tray, so they don't fall into the bottom of the dehydrator.
- Turn the dial to 135 degrees and dry for at least 8 hours and check on them periodically. You may need to poke them with a skewer or fork to make sure they
- Once the berries are at room temperature, our job isn't over! It's time to condition the berries We still need to give them a little bit of time in an airtight container with a lid to ensure that the drying process is complete and that there is no extra moisture in the berries.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 4Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
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