Why would you want to make your own dried cranberries? Well, let me count the reasons: more flavor, higher quality, less sugar, and a lot less expensive. During the cranberry season, you can pick up a 12oz bag at just about any store. Have you ever tried to find some dried cranberries without refined sugar? It's next to impossible. With a little honey and some time, you too can have some flavorful, healthy dried cranberries.
The first step is to wash the cranberries in fresh water:
After boiling 2 quarts of water, turn the heat off (boiling the cranberries will make them mushy) and submerge the cranberries in the water. They will start making all sorts of fizzing and popping noises. Eventually, you want the cranberries to pop, which indicates that their skins have burst.
After draining the cranberries, toss them with the honey. To make it easier to pour, you can slightly heat it first:
Spread the cranberries out in a single layer on a parchment-covered baking pan and stick in the freezer until completely frozen.
Since I don't have a food dehydrator, I used the oven method, baking the cranberries for 6-8 hours at around 150 degrees (actually, my oven's lowest temperature is 170). Once they are done, they look just like the ones you get at the store, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by the bright, tangy taste!
Healthy Dried Cranberries
(makes 1 c)
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 2 quarts boiling water
- 1/4 c honey
- Rinse the cranberries with fresh water.
- Submerge the cranberries in a pot of boiling water WITH THE HEAT TURNED OFF. Let them sit in the hot water until the skins pop.
- Drain the berries and heat the agave nectar in a saucepan until warm. Toss the cranberries in the honey and transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 2 hours, until the cranberries are completely frozen.
- If you have a dehydrator, place the berries in it for about 16 hours, until they are dry and chewy. If you don't have a dehydrator, place them in an oven at 150 degrees for 6-8 hours.
- Store them in a airtight container.