In the oven, or food dehydrator, anyone can dry cranberries! I'll go over exactly how to dry cranberries using the easiest, most convenient methods available.
You can dry cranberries in your oven on a baking sheet at very low temperature, or in a food dehydrator.
Drying cranberries is a great way to utilize leftover cranberries.
They will last up to one year in the pantry once dried properly!
Dried cranberries make great snacks, and usually have way less sugar than store bought packaged dried cranberries.
They are also a delicious substitution for raisins in muffins and bread recipes.
This standard store bought bag of cranberries which is typically one half pound.
The recipe can be increased to accommodate the amount of dried cranberries you need.
You can cut the sugar down for a less sweet dried cranberry, but keep in mind that these are already much less sweet than the store bought dried cranberries.
Whether you are using the oven method or food dehydrator, the recipe is the same.
You will need parchment paper or a non stick silicone mat because they get very stick before they're fully dried.
Rinse the cranberries just to remove any unwanted debris.
Drain them in a colander and pat them dry, or allow them to air dry.
Place them in a heat safe bowl that can tolerate boiling water.
Meanwhile, heat up the sugar solution.
This doesn't only serve to sweeten the cranberries. It also is meant to split them open, which helps them to release more moisture as they dehydrate.
In a sauce pan, combine the sugar and water on medium high heat until it comes to a boil, stirring once or twice.
The sugar will dissolve and the liquid will turn crystal clear indicating it's ready.
Pour the hot sugar water over the cranberries in a heat safe bowl. Give the cranberries a little stir to coat them with the sugar water.
Allow the cranberries to steep until the cranberries split open around one or all sides.
You may have to turn some of them over to see where they split.
If you notice any stubborn cranberries that haven't split, pierce them with a sharp knife.
Once all of the cranberries are split, use a slotted spoon to fish them out of the sweetened water, or strain them in a colander again over the sink to allow the excess to drip off.
Transfer them to the food dehydrator or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat to prevent sticking.
In the oven
To dehydrate the cranberries in the oven, use a baking sheet, cooling rack and a nonstick layer like parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
Prepare a baking sheet by fixing a cooling rack on top of it followed by a piece of parchment paper.
The cooling rack elevates the cranberries to help with air flow and circulation while they dry.
Place the baking sheet and cranberries in the oven and cook on the lowest setting.
Most ovens do not go below 170 degrees Fahrenheit, this is usually about what the "keep warm" setting is set to as well.
If your oven does not go as low as 130-145 degrees Fahrenheit, keep the oven door cracked the entire time.
Check cranberries every few hours until they are completely dehydrated and devoid of moisture.
In a food dehydrator
Scatter the sweetened, split cranberries on a nonstick layer in a food dehydrator.
Set the food dehydrator to 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) and allow the cranberries to dehydrate until all moisture is removed.
When are they done?
This process will take 8-12 hours, until the cranberries have shriveled up and feel leathery like other dried fruit.
Remove, and let cool. You can be sure they're done when they can be pulled or cut apart and there is no wetness whatsoever.
Tips and Tricks
- Don't turn up the heat in an effort to dehydrate the cranberries faster because it will toast the outsides, making them hard and brittle. Remember: they don't need to be cooked, only dehydrated.
- If you don't have a cooling rack that you can use to elevate the cranberries on, turn the baking sheet upside down and place the mat or parchment paper on the underside to eliminate the edges, and allow for maximum air flow.
- If using the food dehydrator method, refer to your owners manual for instructions on dehydrating overnight. Many offer self timers, or conditions in which it is safe to use the appliance overnight.
- You can test the dried cranberries by placing them in a tightly sealed glass jar, shaking it, and checking it after 24 hours. If you can detect moisture on the glass, you need to dehydrate them longer.
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If you tried these dried cranberries in either the oven or food dehydrator method, leave a comment below or use the stars in the recipe card to rate your experience.
How to Dry Cranberries
- Oven or Food Dehydrator
- parchment paper
- Sauce pan or microwave safe bowl
- 8 ounces whole cranberries
- 1 cup sugar (note, you will be draining most of this off)
- 2 cups water
- Combine the water and sugar in a sauce pan and heat on medium high heat until almost simmering, stirring occasionally.
- Pour over rinsed, dry cranberries in a heat safe bowl, stir.
- Allow cranberries to steep for 10-20 minutes until sides split. Pierce any unsplit cranberries with a sharp knife.
- Drain, or remove steeped cranberries with a slotted spoon and arrange on prepared baking tray lined with parchment paper and cooling rack, or food dehydrator tray.
- Dehydrate in oven or food dehydrator at 135 degrees for 8-10 hours, or lowest setting of oven with door cracked (if over 150 degrees).
- Cranberries are done when no moisture remains when they are pulled apart.
- Store covered in the pantry or fridge in a tightly sealed glass jar, shaking twice a day for one week to "condition" the cranberries. If condensation or moisture appears on the sides of the container, they aren't full dry and need to be dried further.
- Store in pantry or fridge for up to 1 year.
- Sugar amount can be adjusted up or down to taste.
- If using the oven method, and the oven doesn't go below 150 degrees, crack the oven door.
- Condition the cranberries when done, by storing in a tightly sealed jar, shaking twice a day for a week. If condensation or moisture appears on the sides of the container, they are not dry, and the must be removed and let to dehydrate for another hour or two until fully dehydrated.
- Once dry, store in the pantry for up to one year, or the fridge for 18 months.