Saturday, October 27, 2007

dried cranberries

To dry blanched cranberries:
(From Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook, ISBN 0-688-13024-0)

1. In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over the cranberries or submerge them in a pot of boiling water off the heat. Let sit until skins pop. Do not let the berries boil. Drain. (My note: My cranberries were frozen, so I had to pour the boiling water over twice in order for the skins to pop. You can see in the first photo how they split - they also make a very fun hissing sound when this happens.)

2. If desired, coat the berries in either light corn syrup or granulated sugar. (My note: I used about 1/4 cup organic cane sugar and about 4 cups of berries. A bit less would be sufficient.)

3. Transfer berries to a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 2 hours. Freezing also breaks down the cell structure, thus promoting faster drying.

4. Arrange berries in a single layer on mesh sheets on drying trays. Place trays in dehydrator and dry for 10 to 16 hours, depending on the make of dehydrator, until chewy and with no pockets of moisture. (My note: I've had them in the dehydrator for about 23 hours, and there are some berries that have shriveled to almost nothing (these seem to be the ones closest to the centre), and some that are still intact (you can see one in the left on the bottom photo; it's probably because their skins didn't split in the boiling water). So it would be wise to shuffle them around a bit during drying, and to make sure that all skins have split.)

It's that easy! I don't usually buy books for myself (I'm a big fan of test-driving them at the library) but I liked this cookbook so much after borrowing it from said library that I ordered a copy for my very own (used, of course - is the best!). It has everything you could possibly need to know about dehydrating, and all of the instructions you could ever want. Happy dehydrating!

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