Fresh cranberries can be found readily in grocery stores around the holidays. If you want to make a cranberry recipe at any other time of year, you have to use frozen or dried cranberries instead. Dried cranberries are high in vitamin C and phytochemicals that help prevent urinary tract infections. They also contain antioxidants that help protect against cell damage. Rehydrating cranberries is as simple as pouring water into a bowl.
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Measure the amount of dried cranberries you will need for your recipe. For every cup of fresh cranberries you would need, measure out ¾ cup of the dried version. Place the dried cranberries into a glass bowl. Rehydrating dried cranberries will make them softer and similar in taste and texture to a cooked fresh cranberry.
Pour boiling water over the cranberries until they are all covered. You can also substitute hot fruit juice instead of water for added flavor. Your cranberries should be completely covered so that they all have a chance to absorb the liquid. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl to keep the steam in and the water hot. Rehydrating in fruit juice will add additional vitamins and calories which you should keep in mind when choosing your hydration liquid. If you are on a low calorie diet, water may be the best choice.
Wait 10 to 30 minutes for your cranberries to soak in the water or juice and rehydrate themselves. When they are done, they will be plump and round. Some cranberries may rehydrate more quickly than others depending on how dry they are and their age.
Drain the cranberries from their soaking liquid using a strainer or colander. Discard the liquid and return your cranberries to the bowl. They are now ready to be added to your recipe. Rehydrated dried cranberries are very similar to fresh cranberries in regards to vitamins, although they do have more calories because sugar is added during the drying process.
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Use rehydrated dried cranberries in breads, muffins, salads or sauces that normally call for fresh cranberries. Dried cranberries are easy to store and have a long shelf life.