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Oven-Dried Cranberries


This recipe is pretty quick and easy as far as prep goes, but because drying can take several hours , we typically dry berries when we are otherwise occupied in or near the kitchen - close enough to check in every now and again.  Dried cranberries, lightly salted and moistened by extra virgin olive oil are beautiful, tangy/sweet/salty all at once, colourful and packed with antioxidant goodness. Use fresh cranberries or frozen berries that have been fully thawed.

  • 1 lb (454 gr) bag of fresh whole cranberries (of fully thawed from frozen)
  • extra virgin olive oil (we prefer Domenica Fiore)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) sea salt, ground very fine in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) liquid honey, heated 10 sec in microwave to very thin consistency (optional)

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Cranberries blanch and dry 600wPreheat oven to 200F (100C).  If you are using cranberries from a farmers' market, given them a quick wash to remove any dirt and leaves.  Commercially bagged berries will be pre-washed.  Bring the berries to room temperature then bring a medium saucepan of plain water to a boil, remove from heat and tip in berries. We use a handled strainer to submerge the berries and turn them out gently, to avoid splashing. The goal is not to cook the berries, rather to quickly blanch until the skins split.  30 seconds or so should do the trick, depending on the size and age of the berries, and thickness of their skins.  Remove from water when ready and shake gently to dry, pat gently with unbleached paper towel if necessary.

Cranberries crushing and in oven 600wSpread dry berries on unbleached parchment on a half-sheet pan with raised edges, cover with a second sheet and roll gently but firmly with a rolling pin.  This helps expel air and flatten berries somewhat for drying. Any un-split berries will split now due to their suppleness.  Place pan with both parchments on the centre rack in the slow oven and let the berries dehyrdrate slowly, with the door propped open slightly, for an hour or more until you start to see the berries pucker.  At this point, remove the tray and roll the berries again gently, under the parchment.  Place the tray back in the oven without the top parchment, for another hour or even two, until 2/3 done. 

Cranberries fully dry and in sandwich 600wRemove from oven, tip berries into a bowl, drizzle a 1/2 teaspoon or so of olive oil and the sea salt (and honey if you wish) and mix thoroughly to incorporate.  Spread coated berries on the parchment lined tray and return to the oven.  Watch closely until done as the olive oil acts as a heat transmitter and will hasten roasting, at the same time as it prevents the berries from drying out too much. Turn over down to 150F if needed during the last hour of drying. This isn't an exact science - drying can take anywhere from four to six hours.

Use dried cranberries as a yogurt or granola topping, in homemade trail mix, or as an extra special addition to peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches - bonus with pumpkin seeds and you have a hyper-nutritious full meal deal!   Store dried berries in an airtight container for several weeks, but they won't last that long.


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C@H Kitchen