Dried cranberries have a pretty long shelf life because drying is a preservation method in itself. Still, you might find yourself wanting to freeze them to further extend the shelf life. But is that even possible?
You can put dried cranberries in the freezer without compromising their taste and nutritional value. Frozen dried cranberries are safe to eat, as freezing helps prevent contamination and oxidation. You can expect your dried and frozen cranberries to last up to 18 months in the freezer.
The rest of this article will shed light on everything you need to know about freezing dried cranberries. I’ll explore the potential benefits of freezing them, how to go about it, and more.
Why Freeze Dried Cranberries?
You might wonder why you might need to preserve dried cranberries in the freezer given they already have an extended shelf life due to the fact they are already dried.
Freezing dried cranberries helps prevent oxidation caused by exposure to air. Oxidation can cause dried cranberries to turn rancid and spoil.
Freezing also helps preserve the nutrients found in these berries. So if you want to keep your dried cranberries fresh and flavorful, freezing them is something that you should consider doing.
While freezing doesn’t damage the cranberries, it can alter their texture.
However, this change in texture isn’t always noticeable when cranberries are used in cooked dishes because these are often chopped or crushed before/during cooking. But if you plan to use whole cranberries in a dish, they won’t be as firm after freezing.
Are Frozen Dried Cranberries Safe To Eat?
Frozen dried cranberries are safe to eat. Freezing doesn’t affect the nutritional value of dried cranberries. It only extends their shelf life, helping prevent contamination.
When you freeze dry or dehydrate cranberries, you’re not losing any nutrients. You’re simply removing the water content, so by the time you take a bite out of frozen, dried cranberries, you get all the nutrients and none of the mess.
When eating frozen, dried cranberries it is always important to know if they were packaged safely. One way of ensuring that they’re frozen and packaged safely is by freezing them yourself, which brings us to the next point in our discussion: how to freeze dried cranberries.
How To Freeze Dried Cranberries
Freezing dried cranberries is a fairly simple process that starts with flash freezing the dried cranberries then preparing them for long-term storage.
Here’s how to freeze dried cranberries:
- On a baking tray layered with parchment paper, spread the cranberries evenly (without touching as much as possible).
- Place the tray in the freezer for an hour or two.
- Remove the tray from the freezer, place the cranberries in an air-tight plastic container, and seal it tightly. If using a freezer safe zip-lock bag, make sure to squeeze out as much of the air as possible before sealing.
- Wrap the container or bag in aluminum foil and place it in the freezer.
- Remove the dried cranberries from the freezer whenever you need to use them.
Tip: Always make sure to label your bags with the date you put them in the freezer.
When you’re ready to use the frozen cranberries, just break off what you need and reseal the container before placing it back into the freezer. You don’t need to defrost the entire package unless you plan on using all of it at once.
Defrosting Frozen Dried Cranberries
Speaking of defrosting, here are the steps on how to defrost frozen dried cranberries:
- Remove the dried cranberries from the freezer.
- Place them on a plate or baking sheet on your kitchen counter.
- Allow the berries to thaw at room temperature for about two hours.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Health Benefits of Frozen, Dried Cranberries
The benefits of frozen, dried cranberries include the following:
- Cranberries contain antioxidants that help fight off infections like colds and flu. These powerful antioxidants can also fight off against cancer-causing free radicals.
- Frozen, dried cranberries contain probiotics, which benefit the digestive tract by helping to fight off harmful bacteria that could harm the body.
- They also contain vitamin C, a vital vitamin that helps boost immune systems by fighting off infections and viruses that cause colds and flu.
Tips for Using Frozen, Dried Cranberries
One of the most common uses of frozen, dried cranberries is to toss a handful into a salad. They’ll thaw in minutes and add sweetness and a bit of crunch.
You can also use them as an ingredient in homemade granola. Cranberries will plump up a bit in the oven as they bake, adding a tartness that balances the sweetness of the granola.
Here are a few other ways to use frozen dried cranberries:
- Add a handful to your morning oatmeal or yogurt.
- Sprinkle on grains or soup.
- Use in place of nuts, such as almonds and pecans一when baking bread or muffins or making energy balls and oat-based cookies.
- Make a simple snack by combining dark chocolate and unsweetened shredded coconut.
- Dried and frozen cranberries can be used as an ingredient in sauces. They’ll thaw during cooking and break down into a thick sauce.
- You can also use frozen cranberries in smoothies, shakes, and other cold drinks, where their texture won’t matter as much.
Frozen dried cranberries are a versatile fruit. You can use them for any dish that calls for fresh cranberries. Not only are they shelf-life proof, but they also offer the exact amounts of health benefits as their fresh counterparts.