DRIED CRANBERRIES (a/k/a/ "Craisins")
If dried cranberries weren't so tart, they'd be a great diet food. As they ARE too tart for most people, commercially prepared dried cranberries are LOADED with sugar. This recipe makes them healthier (made with artificial sweetner).
Don't hesitate to squish the berries down in the first phase, or they won't fully dry - the soluble fiber in them "gels" and retains water unless it's exposed to the air!
These are great as part of a low carb trail mix.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: ~8 hours
1 bag (12 oz) fresh whole cranberries
1 C sugar substitute of your choice (can vary amount to suit your taste)
1/2 C water
Preheat oven to 200 F.
Put cranberries in large skillet, and pick through to remove soft and/or brown ones.
If sweetener is powdered, dissolve in water. (comparison of sources of "liquid Splenda"). Pour over cranberries and stir.
Heat on medium high until cranberries pop, about 4-5 minutes. Stir every minute or two. When all seem popped, turn off the burner and let them cool for 10 minutes.
Squish them down with the back of a large spoon. Don't worry if it seems they are melding together. Let cool another 5 minutes or so.
Cover a baking sheet with three layers of paper towels and a piece of parchment paper. (I'm sure this would work great in a food dehydrator, but I don't have one.)
Spread cranberries out in a single layer on the parchment. Have faith -- they will mostly separate into single berries again as they dry. If unpopped ones remain, squish them down now.
Put in oven and turn heat down to 150 F.
In 2-4 hours, replace parchment and flip paper towels over. (You don't have to do this, but it speeds up the process.)
Start checking after 6 hours. Total time depends upon humidity and other factors. It usually takes me about 8 hours. It also depends on whether you want to dry them to the point where they still have some "give" or whether you like them "crispier".
Separate them, and store covered (zip-type bags work well).
Life is just a chance to grow a soul.