Jul 6, 2023
One of the best things to add to your food storage supply would be freeze-dried cranberries. By freeze drying, you take out close to 98%-99% of water from the berries. Because of this, you have nutritious food or snack you can take anywhere. They taste so much like fresh ones, except they have a light, crunchy, airy texture. It’ slike eating cranberry crackers or cracklings, only you get the real stuff.
Cranberries are delicious as they are, don’t get us wrong. You can use them as they are fresh, but there are several benefits to show why you need to freeze dry your berries.
But ever experienced buying loads of it on sale, then suddenly you got busy with work or school activities with kids? Next thing you know, 4 weeks pass by, and you open a fridge to a bag of spoiled cranberries.
When you freeze dry cranberries, you can have them last 25 years or more. You don’t have to worry about lack of room in the freezer or if you happen to prefer eating other fruits and berries over them. As long as they’re stored properly, you will always have delicious cranberries whenever you want them.
We always tell our kids that nutrition is important. So, we start them young by giving them healthy food and snacks, and this includes freeze-dried cranberries. Freeze drying locks in 90% of the vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, manganese, Vitamin E, copper, potassium, and more.
Fresh berries experience oxidation, leading to degeneration and loss of nutrients. By freeze-drying, you put the oxidation process to a halt and still have nutritious cranberries to eat years after they’re harvested.
You can use freeze-dried cranberries for just about anything. You can use them to make delicious frostings and mouth-watering sauces for your meals. They’re even great to bring in camping trips for kids to snack on along the way.
Isn’t it frustrating that you want cranberries, but they’re out of season and so expensive? With freeze-drying, you can buy as much as you want when it’s on sale and in season.
Storage and handling won’t be a problem with freeze-dried cranberries. They’re lightweight and easy to transport, especially when stored in Mylar bags.
Ripe cranberries give the best taste and texture when freeze-dried. Choose ones that are plump, red, and have a bright red color.
The skin should be free of bruises, mold, and soft spots. Remember that when you preserve cranberries at the state they are. Imperfect cranberries will give bad results and make your efforts useless.
Organic is also highly advised as they’re free of pesticides and fertilizers. After the process, you get a higher quality product and better flavor and texture.
First is to pick the cranberries well. Some berries can get squashed and bruised during transport after you bought them from the farmers’ market or grocery. Pick the good ones, then wash them thoroughly under running water. Some even soak them in a water-vinegar solution for a few minutes before rinsing to remove debris, chemicals, and bacteria.
The next important step is cutting the cranberries just like you would with blueberries or grapes. Some processed the berries whole, and they got a messy cranberry explosion in their freeze dryer. Other berries weren’t freeze-dried properly as well.
What you can do is use the slicer attachment in your food processor. Put the berries through the chute and let the food processor slice them for you. Not only does this break the skin that prevents freeze-drying, but it also helps provide more surface area for processing.
Pre-freezing is not necessary but can help reduce the freeze-drying time significantly. A deep freezer works well, and it would benefit your process if you could pre-freeze the berries for 8 hours or overnight. The more ice crystals form in the berries, the better your machine can do its work.
Others pre-freeze their cranberries while they’re freeze-drying other food in the machine. This way, when the freeze dryer’s done, all it takes is a little cleanup, and you can put the trays in for freeze drying.
Thanks to Harvest Right, it’s now easy to make your own freeze-dried cranberries at home.
The time can be around 32-46 hours, depending on how humid or hot the day is. The time can also depend on how much water the berries have.
If you see gummy ones that kind of looks a bit like a raisin, puncture those or cut them in half. Then put the trays back and add 2-4 hours of extra dry time until the cranberries are all dry.
Rehydrating freeze-dried cranberries is easily done by using a bowl of water. Just place the cranberries in the bowl and pour enough water to pool at the bottom. Stir so that all the berries get wet. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t use too much water to prevent waterlogging the berries.
How do you want to use your freeze-dried cranberries? Share your delicious meal plan in the comment section.
Also, we’re shooting several freeze-drying guides to help you make the process effortless. Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel and hit the bell so we’ll send the videos your way.