Some ideas are worth reblogging every year. As I write this post I have cranberries sorted and washed, waiting to be heated, dried, sugared, frozen and dried in the oven. Give this a try while cranberries are on sale for the holiday. It appears to be a lot of steps, and it is, but each step is very easy and quick. The craisins turn out lovely.
Cranberries are available again in the produce section. I love to use dried cranberries throughout the year, but I am very allergic to the sulfite preservatives sprayed on them. So…I did a little research on the Internet and dried my own.
First I sorted through the berries, keeping only those that were firm and dark red in color. I carefully washed them taking care not to bruise them. While I was doing this I boiled about two quarts of water. I placed the clean cranberries in a large bowl and poured the boiling water over them.
They started sizzling and popping right away. When it appeared that all the cranberries had at least one large crack in their skins, I drained them in the colander. I let them sit for about a half hour to dry.
I placed the cranberries on a cookie sheet covered with parchment, sprinkled them with sugar, and froze them for two hours. After their chill-down was complete, I put them into a preheated 350 degree oven for ten minutes, and turned the oven off for several hours as the directions instructed. The berries didn’t seem to be drying out though, so I turned my oven back on to the lowest temperature. It seemed to do the trick, within a few hours the cranberries had turned into craisins.
The directions I followed recommended freezing them on the same sheet and then bagging them for storage in the freezer. I can’t wait to make cookies, breads and muffins with my delicious and nutritious dried cranberries.
Check out this link for good directions for drying cranberries: In-Depth Article on How to Dry Cranberries
I was so pleased with my dried cranberry success, today I dried bananas. They were even easier, slice them, dip in citrus juice, I used lime, and dry them on parchment until they are dry. A good tip I found is store them first in a glass jar for 7 – 10 days. If condensation appears on the sides of the jar, you will know you need to dry them for a bit longer in the oven. Shake the jar every day while you are doing the moisture checking. When the time is up and the sides of the jar are dry, you can store them in plastic bags or jars in a cool dry place. They will keep for several months up to a year. I had one problem though…
Can you see all the empty spots on the parchment? That’s because I couldn’t stop taste-testing the delicious, scrumptious, delectable and tangy banana slices before they were even finished cooking. They are FABULOUS.