December 5, 2014

Make your own "Craisens"

We love Craisens (dried sweetened cranberries) and eat them on cereal, salads, I even put them on my glorified peanut butter sandwiches. I'll put that recipe at the end of this post.

Craisens are expensive and since this is the time when fresh cranberries are plentiful, I decided to try drying my own. I figured I'd stir some fresh ones up in a little sugar and toss them in my dehydrator...not! I dried those things for days and they still are fat round berries for the most part. Well, I guess it's time to Google dried cranberries! I found the following from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association. I figure those guys would know their stuff. Heat them first - who knew??? Then put in freezer for a couple of hours! I would never have figured that out on my own! So read on...

Servings: 12 ounces
1 (12 oz.) bag of cranberries
2 quarts boiling water
1/4 cup sugar or corn syrup
Method:In a bowl, pour boiling water over the cranberries or submerge them in a pot of boiling water with the heat turned off. Let them sit in the water until the skin pops. Do not let the berries boil or the flesh will turn mushy. Drain. If desired, coat the berries with either a light corn syrup or granulated sugar. Transfer the berries to a cooking sheet and place them in a freezer for 2 hours. Freezing the berries helps in breaking down the cell structure promoting faster drying. Put the berries on a mesh sheet in the dehydrator and dry for 10 to 16 hours, depending on the make of the dehydrator, until chewy and with no pockets of moisture.

Another method of drying is to turn on the oven for 10 minutes at 350 F. Then place the cranberries on a cookie sheet in the oven, turn off the oven, and let them sit overnight.

Store dried cranberries in the freezer. Keep in mind that dried cranberries can be used in place of raisins in recipes!

Source: Mary Bell 's "Complete Dehydrator Cookbook" 

Now for my Glorified Peanut and Banana Sandwich:
I make these "open Faced"  - one piece of Honey Nut bread or other wholegrain loaf bread. I get mine at Wally World and it's Arnold brand bread. I cover the bread with creamy peanut butter mixed with a teaspoon of whipped honey. An alternate method is to drizzle the whole concoction with honey at the end. Now I add craisens, chopped walnuts, a teaspoon of chia seeds, sometimes raisins sometimes not, I sometimes sprinkle wheat bran on top too. A sprinkle of ground Ceylon Cinnamon is good on top! This one is definitely not gluten free.  It is my husband Bill's favorite sandwich. I served it one night as a sandwich bar to my girlfriends who meet regularly at my house - they were dully impressed!

1 comment:

  1. sounds yummy. i have a similar version. i'll have to try yours!