Freeze Drying Cranberries for Holiday Use…and Beyond

Cranberries are a big part of holiday treats and feasts, and there are plenty of fun uses for freeze dried cranberries in your festive culinary endeavors.

Theo chocolate bar with freeze dried cranberriesSara Wells of the fantastic food blog Our Best Bites passed along how one company is now using freeze dried cranberries in chocolate bars:

My favorite brand of chocolate always comes out with new holiday flavors. I figured this one would have dried cranberries in it, but they’re freeze-dried! Tangy and airy and amazing with the sweet chocolate. What a great idea to make your own cranberry chocolate treats with freeze dried cranberries. – Sarah Wells, Our Best Bites food blogger

Homemade chocolate bars and candies are easy to make. Pick up a mold online or at your local kitchen or craft store, melt good quality chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave), add freeze-dried cranberries and pour into the mold. Once the chocolate has cooled, just pop your bars or candies out and enjoy.

If you’re ready to embrace the potential of freeze-dried cranberries, below is a great description from one customer how she successfully freeze dried cranberries in a Harvest Right home freeze dryer:

cranberries being prepared for freeze dryingPreparing the trays with chopped cranberries

Put 4 cups of fresh whole cranberries and 3 cups of water in a blender and blend for 3 seconds. Drain the cranberries through a sieve and return the water to the blender each time, reusing the same water for 6 pounds of cranberries and adding an additional cup of fresh water to maintain 3 cups of liquid in the blender.

After draining the liquid, place the shredded cranberries onto parchment paper lined trays.  Using a dinner fork, press the cranberry mash down to ensure that all cranberries are broken open (whole cranberries won’t freeze dry well).

Trays filled with chopped cranberries, ready to freeze dry

freeze dried cranberries Cranberries after the freeze drying process

Throw a handful of these tangy morsels into your next batch of holiday baked goods, or make quick, fresh cranberry sauce with your freeze-dried cranberries by mixing them with water, sugar and other flavorings!


I don’t do it that way at all. I wash them in clean water. Drained in a colander, then freeze them on tray(for measurement amount).
Next I put the trays in the freezer. Let them freeze hard- a day is good.
Next I load each tray one at a time into the food processor with the big chew up blade. I spin em till ground up.
Next I put each tray done in that manner back onto the trays, put all drawback into freezer. Let em get frozen again (just to be sure) usually they still are all icy.
Next I freeze dry them with out all the evaporative water from the method this page uses.
They come out awesome.
I have the large unit from Harvest Right…we love it. Good product good people.

I canned some cranberry juice during the holidays when I purchased fresh cranberries on sale. Here’s how I canned them.

quart mason jar
1/3c of cranberries per jar. I did not crush. Just threw them in the jar.
boil filter water/honey to taste. I used 2 TBSP of honey to 1C of water.
add boiling water/honey mixture to quart of cranberries. I also added other fruits that I had on hand like pineapple, blueberries and strawberries.
Process in your waterbath for 10 mins.
Let cool on a counter for 24 hours
then let sit somewhere cool and dark for at least 48 hours before using.

Here’s where the Freeze Drying came in handy.
Once I opened some of the jars and we drank the juice – which was delicious BTW, I used the fruit to freeze dry that was at the bottom of the quart jars. I pre-froze the left over fruit on the trays and then stuck it in my Freeze Dryer with some other fruit I was freeze drying that day. Then put the fruit in a mylar bag with an O2 absorber.

The fruit came out like cotton candy. Super tangy and sweet, but not as sour as fresh cranberries.

Its a dual purpose way of using canning methods and freeze drying something that you might have thrown to the chickens or compost. Waste nothing is my motto.

Ill be rehydrating the cranberry mixture for some other future recipe…maybe for Next years Christmas dinner.

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