Healthy Dried Cranberries

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! 


Shared on: Allergy-free Wednesday, Gluten Free Fridays, Allergy-Friendly Friday, Healthy Vegan Friday


Healthy Dried Cranberries
(makes 1 c)

Ingredients
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 1/4 c honey
Cooking Directions
  1. Rinse the cranberries with fresh water.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 2 hours, until the cranberries are completely frozen.
  5. 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.
  6. Store them in a airtight container.
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11 comments:

  1. Very neat, I have been wanting to get a dehydrator I can almost taste these little guys. YUM. Got this tweeted and pinned! Thanks for sharing it with the Gluten Free Fridays group!

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  2. Wow! I have been wanting a recipe for these for a looooooooong time! Yay... I am gonna make some this weekend. I have a dehydrator and I am so excited. Thanks a bazillion! The ones in the health food store that are sweetened with apple juice are #1 difficult to come by and #2 very expensive. I think I prefer using raw honey anyway! Again.. Thank you!

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  3. Great idea, you're right I can't get hold of dried cranberries without sugar, and I don't have a dehydrator either so it's great to be given oven instructions too. Many thanks.
    Thank you for sharing this with Healthy Vegan Fridays. Check back to see if you were one of the Top 3! We hope to see you again today. You can submit a post from Friday to end of Tuesday:
    http://www.greenthickies.com/healthy-vegan-friday-30/

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  5. Great recipe! Since honey is still fattening and effects the blood sugar the same as sugar, I want to try Stevia...I hope it works.

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  6. Can you make this without honey? I don't want to add any sweeteners. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Memoria. You could make these without any sweeteners. Just be prepared for some tart cranberries!

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  7. Hi - Thanks for these instructions. Why do you freeze the cranberries? Can I skip that step? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah. The freezing step is used here because freezing the berries helps to break down the cell structure, which promotes faster drying. You could skip it, but it will probably increase your drying time (although it may be a wash since you are freezing for 2 hours!)

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  8. One more question: I turned off the heat after the water came to a boil and added the cranberries, but only a few popped. I had to put the heat back on to get more to pop, and even then a lot didn't pop. I hope they won't be mushy now. I don't relish the idea of individually poking each cranberry open. Any solutions? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't worry about all of them not popping in the hot water. If you include the freezing step, more of the skins will burst from the expansion.

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