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Finding dried cranberries that are AIP-compliant can be difficult! So many of them are made with seed oils! In this post, I show you how to easily make your own in the oven.

dried cranberries piled high in a small white bowl

It's late October when I'm writing this, which means fresh cranberries are showing up in grocery stores everywhere.

Unfortunately, it seems that they're only around from about now through the end of December, so if you ever want either fresh cranberries or AIP-compliant dried cranberries later, they're hard to find!

That's why I always buy up a ton of cranberries during this season. I freeze several bags-worth (see how to do that in this post) and then I dry the rest. This keeps me stocked up all year long when I have a desire for something cranberry!

Why dry your own cranberries?

While storebought dried cranberries can be ok, most are made with a lot of sugar and sunflower seed oil. Even the fruit juice-sweetened ones typically are made with sunflower seed oil.

So if you're on the AIP Diet, cranberries without the seed oil are really difficult to find.

And if you're on Paleo or Whole30 you really should be having the fruit juice-sweetened ones – but what if you can't find them easily?

Drying your own cranberries is an easy way around this. All you need is an oven and a few hours, though you could also do them in a dehydrator if you have one!

How do you make dried cranberries?

The process of making dried cranberries is really quite simple and doesn't require a lot of hands-on effort.

Boil water: Set a saucepan of several cups of water to boil.

Add cranberries: Once it's boiling, remove the pan from the stove and add the cranberries. Let them sit in the water for several minutes (about 5). Many of the cranberries should pop during this time. Don't leave them in for longer than 5 minutes as they'll start to turn mushy, and don't be tempted to boil them because they'd definitely turn mushy. IF you happen to do this, use those cranberries for cranberry sauce instead.

whole fresh Cranberries in water in a saucepan

Drain: Then drain the cranberries using a colander, then return them to the pan.

Mix with sweetener and oil: Mix with either a few tablespoons of fruit juice or honey (don't use honey if doing Whole30) and a tablespoon of avocado oil.

Do note that the fruit juice ones will be a lot tangier than the honey-sweetened ones. And you can use olive oil if you'd rather, but it may leave a bit of a taste at the end. Or you could omit both the sweetened and oil completely – the berries may be a bit crunchier in the end though and will probably have to be frozen for long-term storage (longer than a few days) as the sugar acts as a preservative.

Pour: Pour the mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and then using a small knife, pierce any cranberries that haven't popped.

popped fresh cranberries spread out on a baking sheet

Bake: Put the pan into an oven set to 225 F and bake for 2 hours. At 2 hours, check to see if you missed any berries that weren't popped and using a knife, carefully pop them. Watch out because they can spurt out some hot juice! Continue to bake for another 1-2 hours, or until most of the moisture is out of the berries. Don't let it go too long though or they'll get crunchy, which isn't what you want for a lot of recipes. They're a delicious sour snack when crunchy though!

Let cool: At this point remove the sheet pan from the oven and set it somewhere to cool and dry a bit more for several hours.

finished dried cranberries spread out on a baking sheet

Store: At this point you can eat the dried cranberries if you want. If you want to store them though, put the dried cranberries in a glass jar or airtight container and then keep them at room temperature for another day or two, tossing them once a day. This will help remove any remaining moisture.

From there you can store in the pantry at room temperature for up to 1 month (but if you didn't use sweetener, freeze them at this point).

Otherwise you can freeze them by spreading them out on a baking sheet, baking dish, or paper plate and putting them in the freezer. Once frozen (just a few hours), pour them into a freezer-safe container or bag and store in the freezer for up to a year.

This extra step of freezing on a baking sheet helps to keep the cranberries from sticking and clumping together in the freezer so that you can just grab whatever you need, when you need it.

They thaw quickly, so just take them out a few minutes before you need them.

How do you use these dried cranberries?

You can use dried cranberries in all sorts of recipes.

More Helpful AIP Resources in the Freebie Library

If you find this recipe helpful, you may really enjoy the resources in my Paleo & AIP Freebie Library! There's a “dump” freezer meal plan, a list of AIP-compliant breakfast toppings, and so much more. Plus, you'll get even more ideas sent to your inbox! Get the password here.

Dried Cranberries Recipe

If you make these dried cranberries, I'd love to hear how it turned out! Either comment below or share a pic on Instagram and tag me @thrivingonpaleo!

dried cranberries piled high in a small white bowl

Dried Cranberries (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)

Author: Michele
Finding dried cranberries that are AIP-compliant can be difficult! So many of them are made with seed oils! In this post, I show you how to easily make your own in the oven.
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 12 oz bag Fresh Cranberries (this is about 3.5 cups)
  • 1-2 tbsp Fruit Juice or Honey
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil (you can use olive oil too, but it may leave a taste)

Instructions
 

  • Set a saucepan of several cups of water to boil.
  • Once it's boiling, remove the pan from the stove and add the cranberries. Let them sit in the water for several minutes (about 5). Many of the cranberries should pop during this time. Don't leave them in for longer than 5 minutes as they'll start to turn mushy, and don't be tempted to boil them because they'd definitely turn mushy. IF you happen to do this, use those cranberries for cranberry sauce instead.
  • Drain the cranberries using a colander, then return them to the pan.
  • Mix with either a few tablespoons of fruit juice or honey (don't use honey if doing Whole30) and a tablespoon of avocado oil.
  • Pour the mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and then using a small knife, pierce any cranberries that haven't popped.
  • Put the pan into an oven set to 225 F and bake for 2 hours. At 2 hours, check to see if you missed any berries that weren't popped and using a knife, carefully pop them. Watch out because they can spurt out some hot juice! Continue to bake for another 1-2 hours, or until most of the moisture is out of the berries. Don't let it go too long though or they'll get crunchy, which isn't what you want for a lot of recipes. They're delicious when crunchy though!
  • Remove the sheet pan from the oven and set it somewhere to cool and dry a bit more for several hours.

Notes

If you want to store the dried cranberries, put them in a glass jar or airtight container and then keep them at room temperature for another day or two, tossing them once a day. This will help remove any remaining moisture.
From there you can store in the pantry at room temperature for up to 1 month (but if you didn't use sweetener, freeze them at this point).
Otherwise you can freeze them by spreading them out on a baking sheet, baking dish, or paper plate and putting them in the freezer. Once frozen (just a few hours), pour them into a freezer-safe container or bag and store in the freezer for up to a year.
Course: Basic
Cuisine: American
Diet Gluten Free
Keyword: AIP, Autoimmune Paleo, autoimmune protocol, Paleo, Whole30
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram and tag me @thrivingonpaleo !

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