Cranberries are a seasonal fruit that’s available only during the late fall and early winter months. Any other times will be difficult to find them. Cranberries don’t have a very long shelf life. For that reason, some people will dehydrate cranberries to extend their shelf life.
While dried cranberries do have a longer shelf life than fresh ones do, they are not immune from going bad. If you’ve opened a bag of dried cranberries, to avoid them from spoiling, would freezing them be a good option?
Can you freeze dried cranberries? Yes, freezing dried cranberries is possible and it’s the best storage method for storing them long-term. To freeze dried cranberries, it’s really simple and doesn’t require a lot of time prepping them. All you need to do is flash freeze them beforehand and place them into an airtight container. Then place them in the freezer.
If you want to find out more about freezing dried cranberries, keep reading.
How To Freeze Dried Cranberries
You may be thinking since dried cranberries are already dried and therefore, try to place them straight into the freezer. They’ll freeze just fine, but the problem will start when the cranberries begin to freeze. As it starts freezing, the dried cranberries will start to stick to each other.
This will be a problem when you don’t a whole bag of dried cranberries to use. The dried cranberries will freeze in a big clump and will take a long time to defrost them.
Instead, you should always flash freeze-dried cranberries first before storing them in the freezer. This will make it easier to defrost and it won’t stick to each other.
Here’s how to flash freeze-dried cranberries, and how to safely store them in the freezer:
- Make sure the dried cranberries have not passed their expiry date.
- On a clean tray, lay a sheet of baking or wax paper.
- Pour the dried cranberries onto the baking sheet. Spread them out evenly, making sure they do not touch each other. If you have a lot of cranberries, you may need to repeat this process a few times.
- Place the tray of dried cranberries into the freezer.
- Allow the berries to freeze for about 1-2 hours.
- After it’s completely frozen, immediately transfer them to an airtight container.
- Place the lid on the container ensuring it’s sealed tight.
- Label the container with the date of freezing and place them into the freezer.
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Choosing A Storage Container
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The right storage container is important to ensure the dried cranberries will last as long as possible in the freezer.
When the cranberries are frozen, it usually won’t have any issues. However, the longer it’s stored, the more exposure it will have to the cold temperature.
Over time, ice crystals will start to form inside the dried cranberries. This will break down the cell walls, which will lead to soggy texture and loss of flavors.
Below are the best storage container for storing dried cranberries in the freezer:
Freezer Airtight Container
For storing dried cranberries in the freezer, you’ll want to use those that are approved for freezer usage. The materials for these storage containers are made to withstand the freezing temperature of the freezer. This is important if you’re planning to store the dried cranberries for up to a year.
If you are going to use an airtight container, make sure it’s large enough for all of the dried cranberries. Don’t try to cram them together or it may break the container when it’s frozen. Dried cranberries tend to expand a little when they start to freeze.
Plastic Freezer Bag
Also, it comes in many different sizes. If you’re planning to use a little at a time, freeze the dried cranberries in portion using a smaller size freezer bag.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to use all the cranberries at one time, use the larger freezer bag. Make sure you use them all as refreezing the dried cranberries will damage their texture and flavor.
The best thing about freezer bags is that they are a space saver. If you have a small freezer or have limited space in there, you can stack the freezer bags on top of each other. Just make sure the dried cranberries are completely frozen first before stacking them on top of each other.
Make sure before using the glass jar in the freezer that it’s safe for freezer usage.
An ordinary glass jar may break from the extremely cold temperature of the freezer.
The lids on these glass jar are airtight which will prevent any air and moisture from getting into the jar and damaging the dried cranberries.
How Long Will Dried Cranberries Last In The Freezer?
Dried cranberries that are stored properly and in an airtight container or freezer bag will last for up to a year in the freezer.
After that time, the dried cranberries will still be able to be used, but the quality of it will deteriorate quite a bit. The flavor won’t taste as they should and the texture will become softer.
How To Tell If Dried Cranberries Have Gone Bad
Most people will assume dried fruit will never spoil, but that’s not the case. While the process of dehydrating and drying fruit does help extend their shelf life, it does not mean the fruit will be safe to eat indefinitely.
If the dried cranberries have been frozen for longer than a year, you should inspect the quality of it first.
The best way to tell if the dried cranberries have gone bad is to look at their appearance. If it’s shriveled, have dark spots, or crusty, you should discard it.
Another thing to look for is mold growing on the dried cranberries. Usually, if it’s properly stored, mold will usually never be an issue. The problem starts when the cranberries are exposed to air.
Sometimes, harmful bacteria will be in the air and if it comes in contact with dried cranberries, mold may starting growing.
How do you keep dried cranberries moist?
If you made a mistake and left them out on the countertop or in the fridge for too long, the cranberries will lose some of its moisture.
To bring back the moisture, you can place the dried cranberries into a bowl of warm water. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and drain the water from the bowl.
Doing so will cause the dried cranberries to absorb the water, which will make them plumper and juicier.
If you want to add some flavor to the cranberries, instead of water, you can use brandy, rum, or fruit juice.
Can you eat expired dried cranberries?
Like other dried foods, dried cranberries will come with a printed expiry date on them. This date only lets you know when the cranberries will remain at their freshest quality.
However, after the printed date, the cranberries will still be safe to consume, but the quality will deteriorate.
If you notice the dried cranberries have passed their expiry date, examine them first to make sure it’s safe to eat.
One of the signs to look for is mold growing on them. If you see this, discard the entire content of cranberries.
The other sign to look for is the smell of it. Good quality dried cranberries will smell sweet. If it smells sour or anything.