A few of you have asked how I make my own dried cranberries. Well, after wandering the aisles at the grocery store looking for unsweetened dried cranberries (no sugar whatsoever - just plain old wonderful cranberries all by themselves) and coming up empty, I turned to the internet.
Here's what I learned: you can dry cranberries on your own in your oven! It's so easy! Using a food dehydrator would probably yield better results, but I put a moratorium on any new kitchen gadgets so I stuck with the oven. My husband thanks me.
Here's how you do it. You'll need a bag of fresh or frozen whole cranberries, a pot of water, a towel, and a cookie sheet.
1. Boil a pot of water. Easy.
2. While you're waiting for that, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and get out a cookie sheet. Easy!
3. Once the water is boiling, dump in the cranberries. Leave them in just long enough for the skin to pop (about two minutes in my experience). If you leave them in too long they'll get mushy. Trust me on this part.
4. Drain the cranberries in a colander and pour them out onto a towel to pat them dry.
5. Once dry, transfer them to your cookie sheet and put them into the preheated oven.
6. After 10 minutes, turn off the oven but leave the cranberries in overnight. In the morning, they'll be shriveled up little bits of cranberry that are perfect in your Christmas Day salad!
Um *ahem* a bit of a cautionary tale here - don't forget that they're in the oven the next morning until you've already preheated it for something else and then open it to find that you've just burned them. Trust me on that part, too. :)