Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Drying Cranberries - Not!

I've been thinking about 'road food' a lot lately as I anticipate a solo trip in a couple of weeks while researching for a book. It seems the easiest place to contain my costs is through what I spend on food - which means the more snacks I can bring along or buy in a grocery store, the less I'll spend between meals. All of which led to my attempt at creating a healthy snack. While 'spring cleaning' in my freezer I found cranberries left over from the fall. Then I browsed the Internet for about 15 minutes to get some tips on making 'dried cranberries.'
First I washed and sorted the berries, throwing out about 1/4 of them because they were too mushy. As I sorted, I got a big pot on the stove and when it reached a rolling boil threw the berries in until they popped open. About five minutes later I drained the berries, spread them on a foil-covered cookie sheet and set them in an oven preheated to about 150 degrees.

But the process went downhill after that. One Internet source estimated they would take 'a long time' to dry to the correct texture. After a few hours I took them out to find smooshed, unappetizing stuff without a hint of sweetness, and was grateful I could simply throw away foil rather than scrape them off of my good baking pan underneath. There are plenty of ways to use cranberries, but I think I'll buy mine for snacking next time.

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