Right after Thanksgiving, I was left with half of a turkey carcass and a desire for turkey salad. Except I wanted pecans and cranberries in mine, and only had pecans. I’m sure you could imagine my dismay at the fact that I didn’t have a bag of dried cranberries in the house, and while I made the turkey salad, I felt the cranberrylessness of it and decided then and there to make my own dried cranberries even though I didn’t have a dehydrator. I was going to one-up the dehydrator and make oven-dried cranberries – therefore proving I didn’t need another appliance to take up counter real estate.
I started with fresh cranberries from Ellis Farms that I picked up on the last Farmer’s Market day of the year >SOB< and immediately came home, washed, separated, and prepped the cranberries for drying. For this, I used my lowest heat setting possible on my oven – 170 degrees, but if your oven can go as low as 150 degrees I suggest using that temperature since it allows for even drying for the amount of time you will need.
Overall, the process is pretty simple. Fresh cranberries, simple syrup, and oven-drying. That’s all. I’ll link to another post on how to make simple syrup later this week. It’s honestly simple – and truly worthy of the name.
If you do this right, and you’re patient enough, you’ll have enough “craisins” for all of the salads, and side dishes you want. While you’re consuming those though, just make sure to make another batch for backup, otherwise, you’ll have to wait a while for these delicious fruity morsels.
- 12 ounces of fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup simple syrup
- Wash and dry the cranberries and place them in a bowl
- Pour boiling water over them and wait 10-15 minutes until the majority of them pop
- Drain in colander
- Invert cranberries into a paper towel lined bowl so that extra water can be removed
- Combine drained cranberries with the simple syrup
- Line cookie sheet with a cooling rack and cover with two layers of paper towel topped by parchment paper
- Arrange cranberries on top of parchment paper - leave plenty of room for air to circulate properly - and pop stubborn berries with the tip of a pairing knife.
- Set oven for lowest setting (mine goes down to 170 degrees) and dry for 6 hours or overnight. The lower the temp on your oven goes, the longer you'll have to dry. Mine took a bit over 7 hours at 170 degrees
- Remove from oven, let cool down for 30-40 minutes
- Check for dryness and eat the ones that aren't completely dried out (or that's what I've heard)
- Store in mason jar or airtight container
- If there is any condensation, you haven't properly dried your cranberries and you should pop them back into the oven for another hour or two - or until they are properly dried.
I’ll try to have a recipe using the “craisins” up and ready to try over the next couple of weeks, but no promises, because we know how that goes. I think we’ve all come to terms with the fact that I really just like trying things out to see if I can make them. Oven-dried cranberries are one of those things. Until next time folks!