Learn how to dry fresh cranberries at home!
Cranberries are both delicious and incredibly good for you, and if you prefer eating them dried as opposed to fresh, you should know that the process of drying cranberries is incredibly easy. Fresh cranberries can be dried in a dehydrator, an oven, or a microwave, depending on your preferences.
READ ALSO: 9 Amazing Health Benefits of Dried Cranberries
- The first thing you need to do is pick the right fresh cranberries.
- After you get your cranberries home, they should be thoroughly cleaned.
- Using a dehydrator – set the temperature to 115 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate them for around 15 hours.
- Using an oven – preheat the oven by setting it to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate cranberries for 8 hours.
- Let the dried cranberries cool down completely and store them in an airtight container.
How to Dry Fresh Cranberries
The first thing you need to do is pick the right fresh cranberries.
The cranberries you choose should be firm, even though a tiny bit of “give” is acceptable – they should never be mushy. They should be free of wrinkles, and their color should be either red or tinged with yellow. When you’re interested in drying cranberries, they need to be as fresh as possible in the beginning. This will guarantee that when they’re dried, their taste will be exceptional.
After you get your cranberries home, they should be thoroughly cleaned.
To do this, place them in a huge bowl and fill the bowl with water. As you wash the berries, make sure any debris is completely washed off of every one of them. Next, you can place the cranberries in some type of strainer and drain all of the water out. Rinse the berries out until they are clean and debris-free, then you’re ready for the next step.
With the cranberries in a large bowl without any water in it, boil two quarts of water and once it’s ready, pour that water over your cranberries. You’ll soon hear a popping sound due to the skins on the cranberries splitting open. This is normal, and once you hear that sound, wait another four to five minutes and then drain the cranberries. After four to five minutes, the popping sound should stop. And once the berries are drained, sprinkle 1/4 cup of sweetener over them, such as sugar, corn syrup, or even maple syrup.
Once the sweetener is poured over the cranberries, stir them thoroughly so the sweetener is completely dissolved. The sweetener adds flavor, increases the effectiveness of the dehydration process, and draws water out of the fruit. At this point, you’re ready to dry your cranberries, and you can do this in one of several ways.
Here is a very good and informative video about cranberries.
How to Dry Fresh Cranberries in a Dehydrator
Every dehydrating machine is different, but if your machine doesn’t have any instructions …
- Setting it to a temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit usually works perfectly.
- After you set the temperature and put the cranberries on the trays, let them remain there for 15 hours. After 15 hours, check the berries and if any of them are still too soft, you can turn off the dehydrator but leave the berries in the machine overnight.
Keep in mind that if the instructions that come with your dehydrator tell you something different, always go by those instructions instead of the ones mentioned here. Either way, you can count on dehydrating your cranberries at a low temperature for around 15 hours or so. The more closely you follow the instructions, the better your cranberries will taste when you’re done.
How to Dry Fresh Cranberries in an Oven
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use an oven to dry your fresh cranberries.
- The first thing you need to do when drying cranberries in an oven is to preheat the oven by setting it to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your fresh cranberries on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper, and place the sheet in the oven.
- Once your cranberries are in the oven, the wait begins. This step can take up to eight hours, so you can either start in the morning or bake them overnight, depending on which is more comfortable for you.
- You can leave the oven door slightly open, to let the extra heat out.
Dried cranberries are best if they are the consistency of raisins, meaning not too soft and not too hard. After 8 hours, if they are softer than that, you’ll need to leave them in the oven another hour or more until they harden up a little.
SEE ALSO: Beginners’ Guide for Drying Cranberries in the Oven
Drying Fresh Cranberries in a Microwave
Keep in mind that when learning how to dry fresh cranberries in a microwave, you can’t use this method if you’re drying cranberries that you plan to use for crafts projects. In all, drying cranberries in a microwave is not usually recommended because the results can be inconsistent. For this reason, the oven or dehydrator method is recommended over the microwave method.
- Drying cranberries in a microwave requires that you first cut the cranberries in half.
- Next, place them on a microwavable plate or the glass rotating plate in the microwave. Set the microwave to the Defrost setting, and let the berries cook for 30 minutes. Check the cranberries after 30 minutes, but if they still aren’t the right consistency, put them on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven at the lowest temperature until they are done.
Can You Use an Air Fryer to Dry Your Cranberries?
Drying cranberries in an air fryer is not at all difficult.
Just set the fryer to 170 degrees Fahrenheit and leave the cranberries in the tray for six to eight hours.
You’ll need to remove the tray every two hours and shake it in order to keep the air flowing properly so the berries are just right in the end. Check them after six hours and cook them longer if needed.
How to Store Dried Cranberries the Right Way
Dried cranberries can be stored for up to eight months, provided they’re stored the right way. They need to be placed in something airtight, such as a reclosable plastic bag, a plastic container meant to hold leftover foods, or a glass jar that has a tight lid. Once any amount of air gets to them, they might be ruined and become inedible. This is why it’s so important to make sure they are stored in something that is airtight.
Drying fresh cranberries isn’t difficult, as long as you remember to stick with the instructions and make sure everything is done correctly. Dried cranberries are delicious and can be added to salads and various other dishes, or they can be eaten alone as a snack. If you don’t feel like buying yourself a dehydrating machine, try drying them in the oven or your air fryer. You have numerous options available to you.