Learn how to dehydrate cranberries with this simple tutorial. Dehydrated cranberries make an excellent, healthy snack full of antioxidants!
Cranberries are one of my favorite stock up items in the fall. Not only are they gorgeous, if I’m lucky, I can pick up bags and bags of cranberries at the Dollar store for just $.99 a bag.
That’s pretty economical, considering they are $2.49+ at my local grocery stores (sometimes even $3.49). As beautiful as they are, however, they can be pretty sour, too!
In most cases, we consume cranberries in the form of a sauce at Thanksgiving… boiled down with sugar and served alongside a juicy, moist turkey. Sometimes I’ll even make sugared cranberries (which are in a league all their own).
Cranberries paired with lemons make an excellent cocktail – and one of my favorite ways to use cranberries is in these delicious cranberry crumb bars. Yum and yum!
As healthy as they are, though, they are not remotely healthy when used in any of those aforementioned ways. On their own they can be pretty powerful – provided you’re not bathing them in a ton of sugar.
Health Benefits of Fresh Cranberries
Much like blueberries, cranberries are full of antioxidants. They are great at preventing and treating urinary tract infections, kidney stones, reducing oral diseases and preventing some cancers.
With that said – do you remember the last time you snacked on a handful of dried or fresh cranberries? Most likely never…simply because they are very tart, yet sour little gems.
If you’re looking to use up fresh cranberries, here are several ways:
- Juice: juice your cranberries and add your natural sweetener.
- Granola: add dried cranberries to your favorite homemade or store bought granola.
- Baked goods: Use cranberries to pump up your favorite baked goods.. these Cranberry Oat bars are to die for! Add them to muffins, breads or even your favorite crumble recipe.
- Oatmeal: start your breakfast off with dried cranberries added to your oatmeal or porridge.
- Stuffing or rice: add cranberries into your favorite rice or stuffing recipe, and give it a stir.
- Cranberry jam: whip up some jam or chutney using cranberries – you can even mix them with other seasonal favorites – apples, included.
How to Dehydrate Cranberries
Dehydrating cranberries is a simple way to use an abundance of fresh cranberries very quickly. While the end result will be sour/tart little gems, they are a great offset to add to granola or trail mix or even a smoothie bow.
The key to dehydrating cranberries is to add them to a pot of boiling water before laying out on your dehydrator tray. Once you add them to the boiling water, you should hear a series of “pops” from the cranberries as they burst in the water.
Drain thoroughly, dry on a clean dish towel, then carefully spread them out on your dehydrator tray. The dehydrated cranberries will dry out much quicker than not boiling them beforehand.
(I have laid cranberries on the dehydrator tray without boiling first and they can take anywhere from 10-18 hours to dehydrate, with some of them not being close to done!)
How to Dehydrate Fresh Cranberries
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 6 C water
- Before you can dehydrate the cranberries, prepare them by blanching them. Wash the cranberries and set aside. Fill a pot with 6 C. water and bring to a boil.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add your cranberries. Boil for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. They should "pop" (or split open). You may have a few duds that don't, but don't worry.
- Drain the cranberries in a colander. Gently wrap them/dry them in a clean dish towel to rid them of excess water.
- Lay your cranberries out on the dehydrator trays, evenly spaced. The cranberries that didn't pop will need to be pierced with a sharp knife.
- Cranberries can take up to 14 hours to dry at 135 degrees F. After 8 hours, check on the cranberries to determine their dryness. They may need more time (up to 6 additional hours).
- Cranberries need to cool before you can check to ensure they are completely dehydrated. Turn off the dehydrator and open the top to let them cool for 20-30 minutes.
- After the cooling period, check the cranberries by cutting or tearing in half and checking for moisture. If there is no moisture, they are fully dehydrated.
- Once dehydrated, store the cranberries in an air tight glass jar or BPA-free food storage container. Fill the jars only 1/2 - 2/3 full and shake them several times a day for one week to redistribute the berries and any moisture they may contain.
- If (after a few days) you notice moisture on the jar(s), you may need to add the berries back to the dehydrator for a short time. Once dehydrated, store away from light or heat.
- Each bag of fresh cranberries (12 oz) will yield 2/3 - 3/4 C. dehydrated cranberries.