Saturday, September 22, 2012

DIY Homemade Craisins

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DIY homemade craisins

Anyone who knows me at all knows I like to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible.

Not that I don't like to eat scrumptious food prepared from local ingredients - I do!!  This is a big reason we bought a farm, so that we could have more control over where our food comes from.

But in general, I'd rather be outside moving electric fences and scooping poo than inside a kitchen.

However, there are occasions when cooking must be done, and sometimes (argh!) even for a group of people.

Recently we had one of those occasions.

After a work conference I invited as many of my coworkers that could make it over to our house for a "farm dinner."

{six RSVP'd "yes."  Eleven showed up.}

My personal goal for this dinner was to source as many ingredients as possible locally.

You can see the entire farm-dinner menu at the end of this post.

Only one problem.  I needed craisins for the salad.  And, despite being only 30 miles from the Cranberry Capital of the US, I could not find any locally made craisins.

What the heck people?  Local cranberries but no local craisins?  Why that's just plain crai-zy.

So I got it into my head I'd just make my own.  And everyone knows once you get something into a Norwegian's head, it's pretty difficult impossible to get it out again.

That's why they say, "You can always tell a Norwegian, but you can't tell them much."

Anyway, back to crai-zy craisin-makin'.

DIY craisin ingredients - cranberries, sugar, water

I found this recipe here and decided to give it a try. 
  • 1 bag of thawed cranberries (I did freeze mine first as I had heard from a friend that helps the process if you're going to dehydrate them)
  • I cut each berry in half and kept chopping berries until I had 2 full cups worth. I think it was most of a bag's worth but am not sure, as I was finishing off half of one bag and starting on another bag.  This really didn't take as long as you might thing. I read you could also boil them until their skins pop.
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 cup of sugar (I used organic raw cane sugar, upping the qty as per recommendations in original recipe)
  • Dissolve sugar into hot water
soaking the cranberries

  • Stir in sliced cranberries (they float of course... so they won't all be submerged)
  • Soak for 30mn
  • Drain (the sugar water you soaked your cranberries in can make a lovely drink - just add soda)
Draining the craisins before they go into the dehydrator

Arrange on dehydrator trays (it took 2 trays for mine).  They are pretty sticky at this point so spreading them evenly on the trays can be frustrating.  Especially when the tray slips and half the cranberries fall into your dish drainer.

{Not that that happened, mind you}

DIY craisins ready to start drying

Dry for 6-8 hours.  My dehydrator does not have a heat selection setting so I turned it on and put an oven thermometer in it and it registered at 120 F.  I turned it off at 7 hours but could have done a little sooner I think.  It depends on how long you're storing them - if for awhile, you'd want them drier to avoid the possibility of mold.  I'm using mine in a few days so they could have been a little moister.

Dried craisins, DIY style!

Good for tossing into salads and holiday desserts, packaging as gifts, and adding to your favorite G.O.R.P recipe.  Pop a handful into your mouth for a quick snack on the run and smile at your own cleverness.


Cheers -





Our almost-100%-locally-sourced-farm-dinner-menu:


  • White chicken chili using our own pastured chicken (alas, I was unable to find locally grown cooking beans - even the Amish farmers around here buy their beans in bulk from cheaper sources)
  • Gluten-free cornbread (was unable to source local GF flour)
  • Cornbread toppings: locally produced honey and maple syrup and butter 
  •  Spinach salad (locally grown) with craisins (locally grown & dried), feta cheese (Organic Valley) and candied hickory nuts made with local maple syrup and our own hickory nuts 

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